Can Algorithms Design Buildings?

Daniel Davis – 24 June 2019

In a recent article for Architect Magazine, I look at the recent flurry of interest in generating building layouts automatically. I investigate why automated design has remained elusive for so many decades and I speculate on where this technology might take the industry. I conclude:

One possible outcome is that, yes, these tools replace architects by doing aspects of their jobs faster and more efficiently. Even in this extreme scenario, the threat is fairly minimal since architects only spend a small part of their day on layouts, with this task often falling on interns and recent grads. Furthermore, most of these algorithms require a driver behind the wheel, so to speak, and technologically it seems unlikely companies will be able to remove the steering wheel anytime soon.

The much more likely scenario is that, rather than replacing architects, these tools make architectural expertise more widely available. As Benjamin points out, a large number of buildings are already designed without architects—such as the rows of tract housing in the suburbs—and these automation tools may lower the cost of design to a point where “architecture firms could chip away at these markets.”

Read the full article at Architect Magazine.