Tuesday 28 November 2023
Saturday 26 August 2023
The multitude of AI platforms now in existence make a buffet of resources for assisting creative work-flows. AI is diversifying and specialising, with different applications taking the lead in different creative disciplines including essay writing, coding, song writing, music composition, story telling and visualisation etc.
|Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino|
Experimenting to see how Midjourney would tackle Italo Calvin’s ‘Invisible Cities’ created some interesting results and it became a very useful introductory exercise to see how the software works.
|Midjourney’s representation of Isidora: |
A dreamy city with spiral staircases encrusted with
sea shells and buildings with telescopes…
The latest skill-set to learn appears to be ‘prompt engineering’; a combination of descriptive words, reference images, correct prompt sequencing, grammar protocols and reference codes to generate the required image. But it often involves a lot of trial and error and it’s like working with another person in the room. Sometimes the images are incredible and sometimes you just have to accept what you are given, despite all the hours down the Midjourney rabbit-hole.
|Midjourney’s representation of the futuristic city of Dorothea, |
With aluminium towers, gates and draw bridges, moats, and canals…
As an architect, it s important to be able to produce your own design images directly, Being able to ‘hold a pencil’ is the first skill, but packages like this can make a powerful support tool when managed accurately.
|Midjourney’s representation of Isaura, city of a thousand wells…|
It appears to work with some preconceptions based around the prompt words. Images related to cities often result in vertically stacked buildings or historical scenes, pointing towards a dystopia or utopia, depending on the vibe in the prompts.
|Midjourney’s representation of the city of Armilla with no walls, |
ceilings or floors, just water pipes where house should be…
The creative direction has to come from the accuracy of the prompts. The software is powerful in both executing the instructions and creating compelling graphics, but it appears to draw on its enormous library of reference material and established comprehension of the world, rather than open minded creativity.
|Asking Midjourney for an image of a room with no walls, ceiling, |
floor, walls, doors or windows, just to see how it copes…
Meanwhile, back at the point of this blog post, the objective information from a selection of the cities in Italo Calvin’s book were drafted in to a prompt sequence with great excitement for the images Midjourney would assign to each city, realised over half a Century after Invisible Cities was written!
|Experimenting with he idea of a city built on scaffolding…|
Some images are are very exciting and evocative. Others looked a bit more like products of a set process. There was a lot of trial and error, experimenting with the text, prompt settings and results. The exercise was also useful because it prompted careful focus on the cities being described in the Midjourney engine and it was telling that all the images i imagined I’m my mind looked nothing like those given by Midjourney!
|Experimenting with the idea of a city in the sky…|
Obviously there is still no substitute for developing your own drawing skills yet, but at the very least AI offers an incredible set of reference resources to work with.
|Experimenting with he idea of a city in the sea, |
constructed from scaffolding…
In conclusion, this is an incredible resource and easily an important tool in the design arsenal. It’s advantage as a professional resource comes in to play with he skill of knowing prompt engineering. But unlike most other software packages, it’s fun to engage with and provides lots of exciting visuals on the way to reaching your final image.
Friday 6 January 2023
Technology is changing our lives at lightning speed. It can now assist us to gather ideas and formalise arguments in seconds. A.I. for in particular is about to change the way we exist. For example, give Chat GPT a topic for an essay, thesis, piece of creative literature or even computer code and it will provide responses more insightful than you could imagine, in a matter if seconds! In fact, it took far less time for it to produce the well considered and articulated responses below than it took me to write these less articulate lines.
On the theme of technology and its future impact in Architecture, Chat GPT responded below on the implications of Genetics, robotics, Artificial Intelligence, nanotechnology and cryptography (Grain+Crypto), arguably the key components of the next technological revolution and their possible impact on the future of Architecture:
1. What is the future of Architecture?
It's difficult to predict the future of architecture with certainty, but there are a few trends and developments that are likely to shape the field in the coming years.
One trend that is already well underway is the increased use of technology in the design and construction of buildings. This includes the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software, building information modelling (BIM), and other digital tools to streamline the design process and improve the efficiency of construction.
Another trend is the focus on sustainability and the environment. Many architects are designing buildings that are more energy efficient and have a smaller environmental footprint. This includes the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, and the incorporation of green spaces and other features that can help mitigate the urban heat island effect.
Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on the field of architecture. Many architects are now designing buildings with features that can help reduce the spread of infectious diseases, such as better ventilation systems and touchless technologies.
Overall, it is likely that technology and sustainability will continue to be major drivers of innovation in the field of architecture.
2. What opportunities exist for robotics in Architecture?
There are many opportunities for robotics in architecture. Some examples include:
- Automated construction: Robotics can be used to perform tasks such as welding, painting, and bricklaying with a high degree of precision and speed.
- Building inspection: Robots can be used to inspect buildings for structural integrity and identify problems that need to be addressed.
- Disaster response: Robotics can be used to access disaster-stricken buildings and assess damage, allowing emergency responders to prioritise their efforts.
- Energy efficiency: Robotics can be used to monitor and control a building's energy use, ensuring that systems are operating efficiently and consuming as little energy as possible.
- Environmental monitoring: Robotics can be used to monitor a building's environmental performance, such as air quality and water usage.
- Security: Robotics can be used to patrol buildings and monitor for potential security threats.
- Transportation: Robotics can be used to transport people and goods within a building, such as through the use of elevators and automated carts.
Overall, the use of robotics in architecture has the potential to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance safety.
3. What opportunities does genetics offer to architecture?
Genetics has the potential to offer several opportunities to the field of architecture. Here are a few examples:
- Customised design: Genetic information can be used to create customised designs for buildings and other structures that are tailored to a specific location or climate. For example, an architect could use genetic data to design a building with features that are optimised for a particular region's weather patterns or natural disasters.
- Adaptive design: Genetic data could also be used to design buildings that are able to adapt and respond to changing environmental conditions. For example, a building could use genetic algorithms to adjust its temperature or lighting in response to changes in weather or the time of day.
- Sustainable design: Genetics could be used to design buildings that are more sustainable and have a smaller environmental footprint. For example, architects could use genetic information to design buildings that are more energy efficient or that incorporate renewable energy sources such as solar panels.
- Customised materials: Genetics could also be used to design and develop new building materials that are customised for specific applications. For example, architects could use genetic engineering to create materials that are stronger, more durable, or more sustainable than traditional materials.
Overall, the use of genetics in architecture has the potential to revolutionise the way we design and build structures, and could lead to more efficient, sustainable, and adaptable buildings.
4. What opportunities does Artificial Intelligence offer architecture?
Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to offer several opportunities to the field of architecture. Here are a few examples:
- Automated design: AI could be used to automate the design process, allowing architects to create designs more quickly and efficiently. AI algorithms could be trained to generate design options based on a set of parameters or constraints, allowing architects to explore a wider range of design possibilities.
- Optimised design: AI could be used to optimize the design of buildings for specific purposes, such as energy efficiency or sustainability. AI algorithms could analyse data on building performance and suggest design changes that would improve the building's performance.
- Predictive analysis: AI could be used to predict how a building will perform under different conditions, such as different weather patterns or occupancy levels. This could allow architects to design buildings that are more resilient and adaptable to changing conditions.
- Virtual assistants: AI could also be used to develop virtual assistants or chatbots that could help architects with tasks such as scheduling, project management, or communication with clients.
Overall, the use of AI in architecture has the potential to greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the design process, and could lead to more innovative and sustainable buildings.
5. What opportunities does nano technology offer architecture?
Nanotechnology has the potential to offer several opportunities to the field of architecture. Here are a few examples:
- Customised materials: Nanotechnology could be used to develop new building materials that are customised for specific applications. For example, architects could use nanotechnology to create materials that are stronger, more durable, or more sustainable than traditional materials.
- Self-cleaning surfaces: Nanotechnology could be used to create self-cleaning surfaces for buildings, which could reduce the need for maintenance and improve indoor air quality.
- Smart buildings: Nanotechnology could also be used to create "smart" buildings that are able to adapt and respond to changing conditions. For example, nanotechnology could be used to create sensors and other devices that can detect and respond to changes in temperature, humidity, or occupancy levels.
- Energy efficiency: Nanotechnology could be used to improve the energy efficiency of buildings by creating materials that are able to store and release heat or electricity more efficiently.
Overall, the use of nanotechnology in architecture has the potential to greatly improve the performance and sustainability of buildings, and could lead to the development of new and innovative materials and technologies for the construction industry.
6. What opportunities does cryptography offer architecture?
Cryptography is a branch of mathematics that deals with the secure communication of information. It has the potential to offer several opportunities to the field of architecture, particularly in the area of building security. Here are a few examples:
- Secure communication: Cryptography could be used to secure communication between different systems within a building, such as security cameras, alarm systems, and access control systems. This could help protect against unauthorised access or tampering.
- Secure data storage: Cryptography could also be used to secure the storage of sensitive data within a building, such as financial records or personal information.
- Secure building access: Cryptography could be used to create secure building access systems that use encryption to protect against unauthorised access. For example, an access control system could use cryptographic keys to authenticate users and grant them access to certain areas of a building.
- Secure payment systems: Cryptography could also be used to secure payment systems within buildings, such as vending machines or parking garages. This could help protect against fraud and unauthorised access to financial information.
Overall, the use of cryptography in architecture has the potential to greatly improve the security of buildings and protect against unauthorised access and data breaches.
This is is a fascinating set of responses which suggests Architecture and design, building systems and the service life of buildings being more self-aware and autonomous in the future. There is a lot about processes, procedures, materials and environmental sensitivity but not much on style and form. I suppose style and form will be influenced by technology and express the innovation with visibly new materials and building systems. Alternatively, as it so often does, familiar materials and architectural forms could cloak the innovations in an acceptable wrapper.
The responses above offer a fascinating insight into potential technological advancements in Architecture. Future AI engines, including Chat GPT will evidently be able to control more directly the evolution of the industry and associated professions. Not even the best project managers can extract from of the heads of the client, design and stakeholder teams all the most valuable information and deploy it successfully, but AI will!
Will humans be left behind in this continued development? 500 years ago, it was believed one person could acquire the sum of all human knowledge. As knowledge progressed, academic disciplines split in to specialist areas. Now there is so much specialised knowledge it has become a skill for us to collaborate effectively. This is where AI and innovative technologies can step in to assist, albeit with a leap of faith.
I'm sure Siegfried Giedion would have had a lot to say on this subject. 75 years after his book 'Mechanisation Takes Command' where he predicted the opportunities of mechanisation, prefabrication and mass production following technological advancements in the Second World War, the opportunities for technological progress in Architecture and the Building Industry today has never been greater.
Friday 31 December 2021
|Looking at greenhouse precedents|
Tuesday 27 July 2021
DesignBox Architecture are delighted to have been invited back to Furzedown Primary School to run some more Architecture and Design Workshops. We worked on chair designs over two weekly lessons. The workshops focused on the development of design using writing, drawing and making skills.
- Writing skills started with a name for the chair design and a 'narrative' to describe what the design is about and its significance.
- Drawing skills looked to visualise the written design idea. Pens, pencils, colours and any artistic medium were encouraged to express the student's ideas. Drawings could be orthogonal (we discussed plans, sections, elevations and axonometrics) or free-form.
- Model making skills using materials sympathetic to the material and structural choices made by the students in their designs.
|Extracts from the workshop sequence sheets, looking at the concept, structures and ergonomics.|
- The concept; who the product is for and what is significant or special about it,
- Functionality; considering how a concept translates in to a purposeful design,
- Drawing practice; how to represent ideas in different ways in two dimensions,
- Structures; the different types of structures that surround us and how they work,
- Ergonomics; considering how how humans move, our differences and the importance of inclusivity.
|Examples of work showing text, drawing and models|
The results were hugely creative. The student's imagination produced some very impressive results. Their application and involvement in the process drove many of them to work through design issues positively which was very encouraging. The students considered their designs carefully. In addition to the predicted gaming chairs, the works included a comfy chair for Mum, a trampoline chair, and a chair to meet friends on.
|More examples of work showing text, drawing and models|
Thanks to Furzedown Primary School and their Art department. Have a great Summer!
Education note: The purpose of this design workshop was to demonstrate the importance of Art and creative subjects in the National Curriculum, especially when used in application with mainstream subjects like English and Maths. 'Chair-ish creativity' is about how we should 'cherish creativity' and demonstrate why the STEM subjects are much more accessible and enjoyable when set within an environment of STEAM.
The multi-mode process also helped the students to understand how design develops and is informed by each separate step in the process.
Saturday 24 July 2021
Simultaneously, DesignBox was also appointed to project manage the construction of a new green keepers shed in 2013. The original had been destroyed in a storm some time earlier. In developing the project, DesignBox ensured that all service infrastructures were upgraded to future-proof the Machrie for the programme of works to follow. This included redirecting the overhead mains power supply to the new shed to make space for a new first fairway, upgrading the pole-mounted transformer and power supply to enable the green keeping team to manage their vehicles and plant. A series of buried ducts were installed to enable BT and water connections to the shed and a new HV mains connection to the hotel. Circulation tracks were managed to make the route to the green keeping facilities as inconspicuous as possible, whilst maximising space for golf play at the same time.
|The Machrie Hotel at the beginning of construction|
|Inspecting the contents of the trailers|
|Vehicle work at the Machrie maintenance shed|
|The new vehicle shed tucked behind the maintenance shed|
|Aston Martins arrive at the Machrie for the 2021 Classic Car Tours 'Skyfall Tour', |
on the newly resurfaced Machrie road
Tuesday 20 April 2021
Transport For London (TFL) are looking for ideas to add value to some of their tube station car parks. Our response is Tube Hub; a heterogeneous network of street markets, connected and empowered by the TFL tube network.
With a focus on local speciality trades, crafts and businesses, each market in the Tube Hub network can be a place to buy a passing coffee, drop off dry cleaning, meet work mates for lunch, rent a work station for a day, or meet friends for an evening event.
The tube network raises the profile of the markets, facilitating access with passing trade from commuters or as a specific destination for visitors.
We have been living our lockdown lives with ever more reliance on online services, often through a small number of well-established companies. Progressive technologies allow us to operate without geographical base, supported by logistics that brings stuff to your door.
It seems long ago that we knew our local high street and the small family businesses which populated it. We have moved towards a more anonymous relationship with our community.
Tube Hub seeks to re-address this, re-uniting communities with the wealth of services in their area, supported by the robust TFL transport system, which encourages people beyond their doors and brings everyone together!
2020 and 2021 so far have been long periods of lockdown. With restrictions thankfully easing we now have the opportunity to take back some ground on how we connect with our communities and the wealth of opportunities it offers...and enjoy life.