What is architectural design

Automation: The Future of Architectural Design

How AI-powered tools help assess architectural design quality.

Assessing the quality and suitability of a specific architectural project - or its designs - is an essential step when planning a new construction project. To this day, the assessment of the value is based on subjective perception. However, new technologies and computer-aided solutions are now emerging to help architects optimize their architectural designs. So that future residents can experience the highest possible quality of life in the rooms.

In the architectural design process, rooms are planned and optimally arranged. That requires careful consideration and reflection. In this process, architects spend a great deal of their time determining the physical characteristics of the project location. How are the lighting conditions, if you look from the rooms into the green or onto a busy street. There are various new tools and methods to answer these questions. The aim is to analyze the effects of different design options. How do factors such as the topography, the traffic, the view, the ventilation influence the architecture. To this day, most architects rely on their intuition when creating their designs to decide how to design the property.

The current architectural design process

The best way to get a clear picture of an architect's work is to look at the design process architects go through while working on a project or entering an architectural competition. This process begins with the preparation of the design specifications, examining the future construction program (regulations, number of rooms, function of rooms, m2 and other specifications) as well as existing features of the physical project location (green spaces, topography, proximity to the built environment).

The design concept phase results from these specifications, whereby architects create several possible building designs with various sketches and models. This phase can be time-consuming, as the concept draft must meet the previously created design specifications. Several iterations may be necessary.

Once the design concepts have been completed, a detailed draft is created in which the various building requirements are taken into account. This step also requires several iterations. After completing the detailed design, all graphic drawings and layouts are submitted.

Several specialists are involved in this process. In the words of Manuel Jose Feo Ojeda, PhD Architect and Professor of Architectural Projects at the School of Architecture in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, “a network of employees who specialize in the various objective aspects of the design process”.

Today's design process can be challenging for architects. Because this also includes a lively exchange between different phases of the process. Among other things, this makes strict adherence to deadlines more difficult.

The future: digitally supported design tools

Even if the phases of the process remain the same, design automation tools are integrated as part of the process. This change makes iterations in the process less of a chore. The new tools combine geodata and city or building models with the design object and create simulations. In this way, an architect can assess the effects of his design drafts in real time. In addition, he can receive objective key figures in order to ensure that certain requirements for the building such as noise pollution level, view, etc. are met.

The present meets the future: How can digital tools help architects today

Now that we've looked at the current design process, let's focus the impact of design automation tools on the process itself. The biggest benefit in terms of process is the reduced time it takes to complete the design process. The iterations that were previously carried out manually are now handled by automatic tools. This not only gives you the end result faster; it is also more accurate.

When asked about the advantages of such a technology, Iván Pajares, BIM consultant at Modelical, points out that "It can help you to find the best properties among many in any city, and that without being even known to you."

Most architects agree with Martin Henriksen, Computational Development Lead at Büro Happold, when he says that he is more interested in solutions with "advanced intelligence than artificial intelligence”Seeks. There is a need for tools that support their design and decision making process.

Esther Rioja del Campo, BIM architect and Revit coordinator at Bimoa arquitectura, sees various advantages that are greater than just optimizing the design: “There are many processes that can be automated. Many of the decisive factors are economic in nature and are determined by the property developer. It is very important to make the decision-making process more objective. "

An example of use

Archilyse has developed a solution that helps architects better assess the impact of their various designs. With the help of various simulations and floor plan analyzes, Archilyse visualizes the designs. Using the specific example of “# 175_QDC”, a single-family home by Phillipe Meyer, we show how Archilyse offers decision-making aids.

This building is in Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland.
This residential project was about the renovation of a former office building on the shores of Lake Geneva. A continuous glass facade connects the rather austere forms of the building in a sloping location near the shore with the lake and views over the water. The building is reminiscent of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House (Plano, Illinois, 1951) and the Barcelona Pavilion (1929).

Location and facade view.

Based on the floor plan and the geolocation of the project location, we have created a series of analyzes that provide objective insights and can be used by architects to improve their decision-making in the design process.

Via the analysis simulator

In every room in the house we simulate a 360 ° panoramic view based on a hexagonal grid. The panoramic views are recorded in every room every 0.5 meters from floor level. For each panorama view simulation, the percentage of view is calculated on each element type (building, green space, water, etc.). The 3D model on which the simulations are based is created from a combination of GIS data sources.

Analysis of the view of green areas

With the analysis of the view of green areas, the visible amount of green areas (either trees or parks) is calculated.