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Helping design students build the future with AI

AI-assisted architectural rendering of a building showing several floors full of people.

Anastasiia Konovalova's design from the recent AI-generated architecture workshop. Image courtesy The Design School

November 30, 2023

The intersection of artificial intelligence and architecture is a hot topic right now. What exactly is AI, how can it be used and what does it mean for the future of architectural design? Faculty and students in The Design School at Arizona State University are actively exploring these questions.

One professor leading the charge is __ Surjan, who held an AI workshop this fall focused on exploring how the emerging field of AI-generated architecture revolutionizes the design process and analyzes and evaluates the impact of artificial intelligence on architectural design processes, aesthetics and the built environment.

The workshop was open to undergraduate and graduate students with no prior experience using Midjourney, a generative artificial intelligence program and service. It began with learning about Louis Sullivan's influential building designs in 19th-century Chicago. Students scrutinized Sullivan's fragments using AI to enhance Sullivan’s architectural design strategies and generate novel details using artificial intelligence.

Students then split into groups for a two-day AI design challenge to create their architectural design explorations. The results were showcased in The Design School's gallery for the campus community to view.

Anastasiia Konovalova, a student in the Master of Architecture program, said she would welcome similar workshops in the future.

"It is better to start learning and applying AI now so as not to be left behind in progress," she said. "Fortunately, AI has really begun to be integrated into my work quite rapidly. Tools such as Photoshop, Chat GPT, Midjourney, DALL-E and so forth are already an integral part of my daily work."

Building on the workshop's success, the topic of AI has been approved as an elective course for spring 2024. The class will be open to undergraduate and graduate students who want to explore AI's interaction with architecture, with no prerequisites required.

Leadership in The Design School said they place a high priority on promoting AI literacy and providing students with opportunities to engage with leading-edge technology. That includes staying on top of the latest AI innovations.

Konovalova praised The Design School's AI efforts so far.

"The variety of experiences we're exposed to this semester has been especially great," she said. "From guest speakers to collaborations with professionals and scientists, to interdisciplinary projects with other majors — the instructors guiding us are truly dedicated. If you jump into every opportunity, The Design School can become a great source of growth and inspiration."

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