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Artificial intelligence provides new opportunities for architecture and design

Artificial intelligence provides new

opportunities for architecture and design

Carl Peter Leslie Schultz is working on utilising the potential in artificial intelligence for modern architecture and he is aiming to create an entirely new understanding of the concept of empty space in buildings. Photo: Melissa B. Kirkeby Yildirim.

Computer technology can help architects find precise answers to what good architecture and good spatial design is. This makes it easier to design buildings and rooms based on people’s needs.

Architects design buildings that shape the human experience. They know how to make buildings feel cosy or spacious, inviting or confronting, stimulating or relaxing. And nowadays architects use computers during design. But there’s a problem. Computers “see” building designs as only numbers – distances, coordinates, widths – and this poses a risk that the architect’s vision can be completely lost.

“The question is – how can we translate human experiences into precise numerical measurements? The computer’s inability to see anything other than numbers can be very expensive and dangerous and lead to total failures in building safety and function,” says Assistant Professor Carl Peter Leslie Schultz.

Together with his research group, he is now developing artificial intelligence theories and software tools that break through the language barrier between architects and computers.

“We are able to rapidly check a design at each step of the way, to make sure that the architect’s vision is not lost as the design changes and evolves”, he says.

The researchers have even developed systems that make it possible to create an exact numerical description of the geometry of a building while it is still on the drawing board. This provides architects with detailed insights in the early design phase, leading to healthier, safer and more exciting buildings.

Architectural quality in a formula
A key breakthrough for the researchers is that computers should not only consider walls, doors, windows, furniture – but instead should think of buildings as the “shapes of empty space” between the walls.

This is where people live and work, and this is a way of giving computers an understanding of human experience. Using these new methods, it is now possible for architects to teach computers what human concepts mean such as near, far, bright, dim, all the way up to complex and rich concepts like spacious or cosy.

”When undertaking the task of design, architects imagine and anticipate the visuo-spatial and navigational experience of building users during the initial design conception phase. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the final physical built-up structure inherently performs with respect to function, preferences, behaviour and affordance,” says Assistant Professor Carl Peter Leslie Schultz.

Assistant Professor Schultz has been working with artificial intelligence in architecture and design for many years, and he has implemented the technology in widely different contexts.