Artificial Intelligence is coming to architecture

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to advance at an incredible pace and I am very conflicted. OpenAI released a video creator called Sora this week. The difference between the technology one year ago and today is amazing.

On one hand, we are already using AI every day and it makes our lives better. Those little squiggly lines under words in Outlook to improve your writing? AI. The energy modeling software that lets you avoid calculations? AI. You can even upload a line drawing of an empty room and have a rendering made in any style you want. These things have made our working lives better.

But I’ve heard people say that every hundred years or so a new technology comes along that replaces half of the workforce. Granted, it creates demand for different work, but those who cannot adapt will struggle to stay employed.

I think architects, interior designers, and engineers will continue to be employed. We need humans to check the machines just as much as we need the machines to check the humans. We also need a lot more buildings for the continuing population growth. In that sense, I think architects will become more productive instead of disappearing. Unfortunately, we may hit a roadblock with the contractor trades who put the buildings together, but that is for other reasons as they age out of the workforce.

On a personal note, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how AI is going to replace Archtoolbox. Google will already tell you the dimensions of a brick without having to visit the website. It can give you the R-value of a material and Google Gemini can calculate the R-value of an assembly (although, I would still check its work.)

Archtoolbox is going to have to adapt if I want to keep being helpful to architects. And architects are must adapt if you want to be successful as AI becomes more prominent.


ABC Posts Artificial Intelligence Primer

I don’t think I have seen anything like this from the AIA, but it is a useful primer for anyone who is as interested in AI as I have been these past few weeks. It is geared toward construction, but the concepts will apply to architects and engineers.

AI in Construction—What Does It Mean for Our Contractors?

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Construction Prices Up Again in January

The Associated Builders and Contractors reported that construction material prices were up 1% in January compared to December. This is only up 0.4% from January 2023, but it still something to keep an eye on especially since the Federal Reserve declined to lower interest rates. Clients may be hesitant to move projects forward.

ABC: Monthly Construction Input Prices Surge 1% in January

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Architizer’s Picks for Best AI Rendering Tools

Building on the introduction to this email, Architizer lists their picks for the seven best AI visualization tools. Many of these are not specifically for the AEC profession, but we will definitely see these pop up over the coming years.

7 Top AI Tools for Architectural Rendering and Visualization

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Adaptive Reuse: You Should Try It

Also from Architizer, an interesting suggestion that every architect should work on an adaptive reuse project. I think it is inevitable that all of us will eventually work on a reuse project. It appears likely that downtown offices will become housing or suburban office parks will become outpatient medical care facilities.

Why All Architects Should Tackle an Adaptive Reuse Project At Least Once in their Careers

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Learning About Quality from Other Industries

Architects don’t have much of a say in the contractor’s QA/QC program on site, nor do we want the added risk of being too involved. However, we do need to make sure the contractors are following the requirements in our specifications.

What Boeing’s Quality Woes Can Teach Construction