AI is coming to architecture

Artificial Intelligence is coming, maybe not for your job, but it is coming to the design professions nonetheless. We have to embrace the benefits rather than just attacking the drawbacks.

This news release from talks about how Henderson Engineers is thinking about the future. One passage caught my attention.

Earlier this year, Henderson began testing new artificial intelligence from Torch.AI that could learn to read complex construction and engineering documents and diagrams. Past construction & engineering data sets were used to quickly train the AI with more than 340 million parameters and growing, which in turn creates new opportunities for automation and data sharing. The Torch.AI system has already read roughly 100,000 engineering drawings with remarkable accuracy. In one example, in less than one second the AI is able to identify, extract, and compare diagrams from 40+ page project files with an average accuracy of 98.9%.

I immediately thought of AI making sure the specifications included the same items that were included in the drawings. It could also check for ADA clearances at all doors and sinks. How about pointing out that the roof slope isn’t appropriate for a specific material or detail? AI could be the best QA/QC reviewer you’ve ever met.

I think we can get a lot out of AI without letting it take over the human side of the design process.


Autodesk v. Architects: Is a Revit Resolution Coming?

Architects from Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland sent an open letter to Autodesk voicing the same complaints about pricing and lack of software development that architects from other countries have been making since 2020. More than 120 firms have signed that letter.

Open Letter to Autodesk

Autodesk responded with some updates about recent advancements, where you can provide feedback or request new features, and some tips about licensing. They also teased some new features that will be announced at Autodesk University next week. This may be helpful, but is unlikely to make everyone happy given the cost of Revit.

Listening and looking ahead with Revit

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Can We Build from the Model?

We have the National BIM Standard and we have BIM Project Execution Planning Guides, but neither of those cover the entire lifecycle of a project from design through operations. The National Institute of Building Sciences just launched their seven year plan to transform how we document our projects.

U.S. National Building Information Management Program

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Schools Opt-Out of DesignIntelligence School Survey

Sixteen schools have declined to participate in the 2022 DesignIntelligence survey that leads to the publication’s annual rankings of architecture schools. Everyone knows these rankings are a popularity contest, but it was always fun to see who was the most popular each year. This is probably for the best.

Architecture school deans pass on participating in annual DesignIntelligence Schools Survey Program

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Be More Professional

It is hard to believe that this kind of behavior is still happening, but it is a good reminder for everyone to be aware of their language and actions. And it is not just gender. Every Professional should be treated professionally.

Engineering While Female: How I Cope With Sexism

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“This is Local 60 doing the plaster on the Chrysler Building”

If you like that iconic photo of the NYC construction workers having lunch on the steel beam, you definitely want to check out this Twitter thread. “Spectacular and Terrifying” is an apt description -- no safety gear, workers wearing bowties, audio of the workers talking about being so high up, and colorized photos and video. Amazing.

The colorized footage of construction workers building The Chrysler Building in NYC is spectacular and terrifying.