Big Data

How will Big Data change your Design?

Today, the design of the built environment is rapidly becoming a mix between the physical and the digital worlds. The rise of the digital world is challenging the traditional design process. Data influences many aspects of our lives; from the ads we see on our social media feeds to the music recommendations on our Spotify pages. Every action, feeling and step taken in the buildings we design can now be quantified. However, the impact of Big Data on our physical spaces remains unclear. How could data – about how people live, breathe and move through the projects we create – influence our future architectural designs?
INDESEM.21 explores three scenarios for the intersection between data and architecture today and in the future.

Data drives Architecture

What if data determined the design process? Big Data processing and Artificial Intelligence offers the possibility to generate an optimal design, via machine learning. Artificial Intelligence is able to use limitless amounts of data to make decisions and recommendations during the design process. The architect acts on what the data delivers. This gives AI the authority to dictate how the design will look. Where does this leave the architect? How will this impact our definition of creativity?

Data supports Architecture

The rise of computer-aided design software resulted in countless digital tools at the architect’s disposal. The design process does not necessarily require the traditional pen and paper anymore. For example, parametric design adjusts its form to the submitted range of parameters based on the geological context or the client’s wishes. 3D modelling and rendering tools aid the architect during the design process by testing the spatial qualities of the design or by convincing a client. However, if the computer does all the creating, the architect goes from a master builder to a master explainer.

Architecture supplies Data

Architects not only consume data, but also produce data. Every move on the internet, or even off, is quantified and stored in data centers. In other fields, data is widely accessible by all parties. However, authorship in architecture obstructs the widespread sharing of information, research and data amongst architects. Every design requires a tremendous amount of research into a wide range of topics. By sharing this knowledge, architects could help other architects build better buildings. However, authorship and artistic identity are still core principles in the field of architecture. Will the Starchitect disappear?
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