Artificial intelligence (AI) is the theory and development of computer systems being able to perform tasks that usually require human intelligence, such as vision, speech recognition and decision making. 

From Siri and Alexa right through to autonomous cars, AI and deep learning are progressing rapidly. While AI has taken a leap into many different sectors such as the armed forces, medicine and manufacturing, we are now only just starting to see the introduction of AI in architecture.

AI and architecture

AI can make decisions by analyzing tons of data in a fraction of the time that it would take humans to do so, and this is where AI can be integrated into the world of architecture.

Some architects use past construction, design and data to plan and fulfil new projects, but most consider this process to be outdated, taking an enormous amount of time. The ability to utilize huge amounts of previous data in a millisecond to enhance the architecture design process could work wonders. This is where AI could prove useful. Below are four ways in which AI could impact the world of architecture

1. Smart cities

A smart city uses information and communication technologies (ICT) to increase operational capacity and efficiency, as well as improve the quality of government services and citizen welfare. In the coming years, cities may start to look different and operate in different ways due to the use of AI. City planning is a very complex task that takes years of precise drafting.  

A major task for any architect while city planning is understanding how the city will flow; they need to consider how the ecosystems will work, how traffic congestion will affect the city and how the city waste will be managed. In order for them to gather this data, a lot of analysis is conducted into other local cities, and AI can dramatically decrease the amount of time this takes. The future of smart cities is that they will be places driven by real-time data and feedback conducted through the use of machine learning and AI. 

2. Foundation planning 

Advancements in AI have improved its ability to analyze data and make decisions. This is crucial to design processes, especially in the early stages of a project.

The start of a project requires a huge amount of time and resources to research and understand design intent. AI’s ability to hold and evaluate huge chunks of data frees up a lot of time and resources for the lead architect. They now can undertake their own research, or test several ideas, while an AI program parses the data. This wouldn’t be possible in traditional architecture planning. 

3. Intelligent robots 

One of the most impressive uses of AI in architecture is the implementation of fully automated robotics and drones that can aid in the production of huge projects. These machines do much more than just pile up bricks. The integration of 3D printing technology and AI software actually has the potential to create a whole range of components that go into a project. They will have the ability to arrange complex structures, print building-scale rooms from sandstone, and even repair ancient architecture.  

The use of AI and robots can aid in processes that may not be possible for a human to deliver.  In addition, these tools can be used to further prevent risks and improve safety where it can identify missing elements and mistakes in the construction process in real-time.

4. AI for post-construction 

Architects can now use AI long after the construction of a building is physically complete. Building information modelling (BIM) is one way that AI can be useful in the world of architecture. BIM is a modelling process that is 3D and gives architecture, engineering and construction professionals the efficient insight and tools to plan, design, construct and manage buildings for years after they’re built. BIM stores information about the structure of a building and can be used to monitor developing problems and even offer solutions to prevent any possible architectural problems that any building may have in the future. 

Summary

Overall, the main benefit that AI advancements are starting to have on architecture is the ability to analyze the mass amount of data in a fraction of the time it would take a human to carry out the same task. AI in architecture can be used to assist human development and, in some circumstances, even replace humans. One thing is for sure, as it continues to develop and learn, AI will have an ever-growing presence in architecture going forward. 

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