Generative Design
· 8 min read

What Is Generative Architecture & How Will It Change the AEC Industry?

In traditional architecture, the period between a project’s original idea and the final approved design is long and arduous. Architects bring the design through countless iterations, constantly refining and counter-checking along the way.

There are many reasons why the planning phase takes so much time and effort, including:

  • Too many moving parts. Every small change in the design affects all the other parts, often in unintended ways.
  • Different design considerations. The architect needs to consider traffic, airflow, views, sunlight, budget, deadline, sellable space ratio, etc.
  • Constants to work around. The architect needs to work with local building codes, specific client preferences, and—in the case of building renovations—existing utility lines.
  • Unknown variables. When designing a multifamily building, the architect needs to consider multiple variables such as the range of possible floor areas, the combinations of different types of units, etc.

The process becomes a tedious tradeoff between form and function until the client approves a design for construction. But soon, generative architecture will bring some welcome change to this process. Here’s how.

How Generative Architecture is Changing the AEC Industry

As a broad-strokes definition, generative architecture is the use of AI to take into account all the different constants, variables, and parameters of a project. From there, it generates many possible designs that satisfy all the given conditions. This can reduce a project’s planning phase from months to minutes.

Generative architecture is already making a difference in the AEC industry today. Here are a few examples of how it is poised to help architects reimagine the planning phase:

Multiple Schematic Designs can be Created in Minutes

Architects can generate multiple schematic designs in a matter of minutes, saving weeks (or even months) of tinkering with multiple iterations. These schemes can then be refined on the spot, helping clients find the perfect design right then and there.

Matchless Optimization

With so many variables to consider - plus the possibility of human error - an architect can only optimize a design so much. With generative architecture, which never misses a spot, the architect is assured that every design is optimized and no important aspects are forgotten. Generative architecture can also help architects develop innovative solutions to design challenges.

End-user Data Can be Taken into Account in Greater Detail

With the aid of artificial intelligence, all feedback from a project’s end-users can be converted into data. When executed against the project’s given parameters (e.g., workflow, interrelationships, storage needs, etc.), generative AI can produce thousands of different viable design possibilities in a matter of minutes, from which the architect and client need only pick the best one.

Parameters can be Updated in Real-time

As parameters change—e.g., the number of end-users increases or decreases, or the introduction of necessary processes requires new spaces—they can quickly be included in the database. Again, new designs that adhere to the new parameters can be generated in no time.

Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

Traditionally, architects could only rest on their training, skills, and personal experience in the practice. Now, with generative architecture, they and thousands of other architects can input their unique expertise in a shared database. Machine learning can then leverage this collective skill pool to quickly develop better design solutions.

Construction is in the Mix

Generative architecture is making waves in construction. Construction sites are being planned with workflows in mind, with AI finding the most optimal locations for cranes, equipment, materials, etc., while ensuring the entire site complies with strict safety standards.

The Human Element is Still Indispensable

While the ability of generative design is unmatched, it still needs the human element to make tough decisions. Architects still need to input the parameters, constants, and variables as well as interpret data.

While AI can become an architect’s co-author in the architectural creative process, it can never be the principal - that will always be reserved for the architect and design team.

Make Generative Architecture a Part of Your Practice

Some say generative architecture is the future of computer-aided design. We would contend that the future is here, now. Architects would be wise to get up to speed with this technology and make it a part of their practice as soon as possible.

One of the best ways to see the power of generative architecture is in the planning stage, where you can generate multiple schematic designs for your client in minutes instead of slaving over them for months.

Maket can receive your vocal inputs to establish your client project’s parameters in addition to its already-vast, constantly-updated database. Within minutes, you’ll have dozens of possible schemes for your client, which they can then narrow down to their favorites - right then and there. This can help you seal more deals, get to work sooner, and manage more projects overall. 

To learn more about how Maket works and how it can help you, click here.

Patrick Murphy
Co-Founder & CEO @ Maket

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