A New Study Reveals AI’s Inroads in Architecture

The study showed interesting uses for the technology

AI is making waves in the architecture world.
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Last year, the principal of one of the world’s best-known architecture firms revealed that AI had become a bigger deal in that industry than you might expect. Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects shared that the firm was using AI on a significant percentage of its projects — and it turns out that that firm is far from alone. This week saw the release of a new report from the Royal Institute of British Architects — which included some very revealing data about how British architecture firms are using AI.

According to the study, 41% of the firms are using AI in at least some capacity — though of that, the vast majority stated that they were using AI for “some” or “occasional” projects. As for the reasons why, additional questions offered some clarity. 49% of respondents agreed with the statement “Building design is so complex now, we need more and better digital tools, like AI.”

The architects who responded to the study were aware of some of the ethical and economic issues that surround modern AI discourse. 58% agreed with the statement “AI increases the risk of our work being imitated,” while 36% agreed with the idea that “AI is a threat to the profession.” (To be fair, 34% disagreed with it.)

As for why they had opted to use AI to begin with, the answer to one question was revealing. Of the respondents, 43% agreed that AI had “improved efficiency” in their design work.

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The survey’s respondents also gave a sense of where they saw AI doing the most good in the future, with over 60% opining that AI would have a positive effect in “[m]eeting net-zero targets” and “[c]reating buildings that better meet performance requirements.” It won’t be long before we know how accurate these predictions are — or what effect they might have on the industry’s future.

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