Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to profoundly change the practice of design and architecture in ways we can hardly imagine. Almost everyone acknowledges that AI will bring about a greater revolution in the coming decades than the advent of the internet. And every field will be affected by it. Including disciplines where human creativity and imagination play a key role.
AI generated art
We have all seen images of AI-generated architecture and art. My immediate reaction is that art is a deeply human expression, evoking human emotions in the viewer. Almost immediately, I wondered if this instinctive reaction is accurate. AI originated from human actions and develops itself in a human-dominated world. Can we still distinguish between human expression and AI? Are they inherently intertwined? As artists, designers, and architects, our existence (and for many, our self-worth) is derived from our ability to create something unique. This is where the value of our profession lies. It is no wonder that many of us feel uneasy about the rise of AI.
AI as a design tool
In the initial phase, AI will primarily prove itself as a design tool. With its ability to process vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and generate creative solutions, AI is transforming the way designers and architects approach their work. One of the most significant ways AI is changing design and architecture is by making the design process more efficient and effective. Typically, designers and architects spend numerous hours on research and manual sketching before arriving at a final design. With AI, this process becomes faster and more effective. AI-powered algorithms can quickly analyze an enormous database of design elements, styles, and materials. This allows us to explore multiple design possibilities and iterations rapidly, accelerating the overall design process.
Autonomously designing AI
I am currently experimenting with Midjourney and Chat GPT. With Midjourney, you can create images based on prompts. The more detailed your prompt, the more precisely the AI-generated image depicts your vision. They are still images and at best, they convey the atmosphere you want to create with your design. So, here we have a design tool that can be used by designers. Once AI has learned from you (and many other designers), a new phase will follow. In this phase, AI will not merely be a useful tool to enhance efficiency, analytical capabilities, and human imagination. It will become an increasingly autonomous self-learning system. Whether designers become obsolete in this scenario is still uncertain. However, I do believe that we will need to redefine our role. And we will no longer be able to exclusively attribute the creation of something unique to ourselves.
image above is generated with Midjourney by using the prompt ‘minimal villa, one storey, Richard Neutra style, kaufmann desert house’