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  • Writer's pictureEitan Tsarfati

AI in Architectural Design - the Next Big Thing?

3D Archviz Render Exterior Building

Most architects already have a tech stack; they use CAD or other software tools such as BIM as part of the architectural planning process. While architectural technology cuts down on manual work, such as drafting, it has its limitations. These architectural visualization tools are limited to providing documentation of the solutions and strategies devised by the architect. This is where architectural design technology, specifically artificial intelligence (AI) for architecture, is set to play an increasingly important role.

Artificial intelligence-powered architectural solutions can be used to assist in solving the problems architects face. AI models can automate elements of the design and planning processes making short work of real-world challenges. Many tasks, which today are extremely time consuming and often repetitive, such as adjusting project parameters, coordinating with stakeholders, meeting strict building code regulations, preparing extremely detailed building construction documents, and updating designs according to continuously changing requirements can be streamlined.

The time being burned up with menial, manual work could be put to far better use, enabling architects to put their efforts where they are really needed – in customer-focused design.

5 time consuming tasks that AI can streamline. 1) adjust project parameters 2) coordinating with stakeholders 3) meeting strict building code regulations 4) preparing detailed construction documents 5) updating designs to changing requirements

Make building planning quick and easy

All the design and planning work associated with the conceptual-design through construction document stages, including site and building-code analysis, feasibility studies, construction documents, 3D visualizations, energy and environmental impact analysis, can be carried out with the click of a mouse. AI models and machine learning are being used to gather and leverage data from multiple sources ranging from GIS, maps, architectural plans, survey CADs, building layouts (“As Built”), sustainability regulations, MEP drawings, HVAC drawings, building maintenance specifications, weather data and PV capacity.

Let’s take a closer look at how SWAPP, an AI-powered platform designed for architects by architects, streamlines the planning and design process.

Feasibility first

Before starting any urban building project, zoning laws and regulations must be checked. In addition, environmental and sustainability parameters must be taken into consideration. This review is made of the project itself and the surrounding area. Development appraisals, compliance with parking requirements, and urban grid connectivity must be accounted for in the feasibility study.

With AI, all this is easily accomplished and several aspects of the feasibility study can be automated. Algorithms can be leveraged to evaluate the many data types entered into the platform.

Eliminate bureaucratic bottlenecks

AI planning and design tools can ensure that plans comply with local building codes and produce code-compliant drawings for permits within minutes. The back-and-forth process with municipalities and local authorities is drastically reduced, as scalable, fast drawing updates are carried out quickly and efficiently to meet established requirements. SWAPP’s mathematical AI models are programmed with the zoning and permit regulations and requirements, so generated models are always guaranteed to be compliant. Error is eliminated, as noncompliant models cannot be generated by the system.

Designing sustainable buildings

Today, sustainable design is moving from nice-to-have to must-have. Designs must minimize environmental impact and conserve energy. AI is enabling a wide range of sustainability tools to be fully integrated and leveraged effectively during the design and planning processes.

The SWAPP platform features a number of sustainability tools allowing architects and developers to see the impact of sustainable choices on their designs before ever breaking ground.

Sustainability tools found on the SWAPP platform include:

  • District feasibility studies: solar exposure, right of light, wind studies

  • Net Zero Approach: increasing energy performance, building decarbonization, renewables

  • Cost-Effectiveness: financial analysis and ROI

  • Code Compliance: status review for LEED, WELL, BREEAM

  • Carbon Life Cycle Assessment

  • Energy modeling

Cut costs without cutting corners

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are energy gobblers. With AI, automated calculation of thermal loads, the sizing, selection, and placement of air and water system equipment in 3D architectural models, as well as production of mechanical plans is quick and easy.

What is usually a long, drawn-out process of consultations, discussions, and reviews can be markedly streamlined when AI models are used to simultaneously coordinate the various technical and structural aspects.

Need a design change? No problem

Without AI integrated into the design process, customer requests such as changing the building height, the structure strategy, facade cladding type, interior layout, etc can result in weeks, if not months of work.

With AI, it can be simply a matter of drag and drop. With a few clicks, a new design is ready for review.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line: SWAPP does the heavy lifting, so architects can focus on what they do best. It’s built on the principle “less is more,” made famous by Mies van der Rohe. By automating the manual architectural design and planning process, it’s possible to increase both productivity and profitability.

SWAPP In Action

AI-Automated Load and Energy Modeling

When HARRIS Company in San Jose wanted to ensure that their latest multifamily project was a high performance in terms of energy consumption and cost, SWAPP collaborated with Harris to develop world-class designs and provided $1.34 million of savings using its AI technology. SWAPP’s highly automated load and energy modeling calculations saved both time and money.

AI-Powered Sustainability Simulations

When a multinational leading high-tech company wanted to add a multilevel parking lot to its Haifa campus, SWAPP's sustainability simulator delivered multiple alternative plans focused on reducing costs, increasing parking stalls, and meeting local regulations within days. The resulting plan would avoid the excavation of an additional underground floor, protected the aquifer from invasive drilling, and result in a projected $2,550,000 in savings.

Are you interested in learning how to integrate SWAPP’s AI platform into your practice?


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