HAL 9000 at Robot Hall of Fame. Photo credit to: Photojunkie/Wikipedia.
November 6, 2023 / Member News

Transforming Architecture: The Current Applications of AI in the Industry

Chat with AI

The following is an actual conversation with ChatGPT 3.5

GA: Can I call you Hal?

AI: Of course, you can call me Hal if you prefer. How can I assist you today, Greg?

GA: Hal, write an article directed toward professional architects on the current use of AI in practical applications, give examples.

(Hal provides generic article listing 6 applications, but without naming specific programs.)

GA: OK Hal, but could you regenerate to include programs for each item?

(Hal regenerates article with program names, but no links.)

GA: Thanks, can you at least provide current weblinks?

Hal regenerates and says: “I’m unable to provide direct web links as my knowledge is based on text data up to September 2021, and I can’t access the internet to provide real-time links. However, I can provide the program names, and you can easily find the corresponding websites through a standard internet search. Please note that the availability and specifics of programs may have changed since my last update.”

(Nonetheless, Hal does provide real-time weblinks.)

GA: Thank you, Hal.


Transforming Architecture: The Current Applications of AI in the Industry

By Hal


The field of architecture has always been at the intersection of art and science, where creativity meets functionality. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), architects are now equipped with a powerful tool that can enhance their design capabilities and streamline various aspects of the profession. In this article, we will delve into the current practical applications of AI in architecture, providing examples of how this technology is revolutionizing the industry.

  1. Generative Design

Programs: Autodesk’s Generative Design (Autodesk), IBM’s Watson Assistant for Building Design (IBM)

One of the most exciting applications of AI in architecture is generative design. This technology utilizes algorithms to create countless design iterations based on specific parameters, helping architects discover innovative solutions. For instance, Autodesk’s Generative Design tool enables architects to input design constraints and preferences, and it produces design options that optimize for criteria such as structural integrity, cost-efficiency, and aesthetics. IBM’s Watson Assistant for Building Design is another tool that offers generative design capabilities.

  1. Parametric Design

Programs: Rhino with Grasshopper (Rhino), Dynamo for Revit (Dynamo)

AI-driven parametric design allows architects to create flexible, adaptable structures. By altering specific parameters, architects can quickly test various design configurations. Zaha Hadid Architects used parametric design in the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, where the flowing, organic forms were generated using computational tools, creating an iconic structure. Tools like Rhino with Grasshopper and Dynamo for Revit are widely used for parametric design.

  1. Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

Programs: Cylon (Cylon), Optimo (Optimo), and EnergyPlus (EnergyPlus)

AI plays a crucial role in designing environmentally sustainable buildings. Machine learning algorithms can analyze energy consumption patterns and make real-time adjustments to heating, cooling, and lighting systems, ensuring energy efficiency. Moreover, AI can assess the environmental impact of materials used in construction, aiding architects in making eco-conscious decisions. Software like Cylon, Optimo, and EnergyPlus are used for energy efficiency analysis.

  1. Site Analysis and Optimization

Programs: SiteScape, (SiteScape), ArcGIS Urban (ArcGIS Urban), and Esri CityEngine (Esri CityEngine)

Selecting the right location for a building is a critical aspect of architecture. AI can analyze geographic and environmental data to aid architects in site selection. For instance, software like SiteScape utilizes AI algorithms to assess factors like sun exposure, wind patterns, and accessibility to optimize the placement of structures. Programs like ArcGIS Urban and Esri CityEngine also provide site analysis and optimization capabilities.

  1. Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Programs: Bentley Systems’ iTwin (Bentley Systems), Autodesk Revit (Autodesk Revit), and Trimble SketchUp (Trimble SketchUp)

BIM is a common practice in architecture, and AI further enhances its capabilities. AI algorithms can analyze BIM data to detect design errors, improve project management, and optimize construction schedules. This results in more efficient and error-free projects. Bentley Systems’ iTwin platform is an excellent example of AI-enhanced BIM software. Other widely used BIM programs include Autodesk Revit and Trimble SketchUp.

  1. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Programs: IrisVR (IrisVR), Enscape (Enscape), and Unity3D (Unity3D)

AI, in conjunction with VR and AR, has revolutionized the way architects present and interact with their designs. These technologies allow architects to immerse themselves and their clients in virtual environments, providing a better understanding of the final product. For example, companies like IrisVR offer VR solutions tailored to architectural visualization. Additionally, software like Enscape and Unity3D can be integrated with AI to enhance the VR and AR experience.


Artificial Intelligence has become a valuable ally to architects in their pursuit of creating functional, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing structures. With AI-powered generative design, parametric design, energy efficiency analysis, site optimization, BIM, and immersive technologies, architects can push the boundaries of what is possible in the field. Embracing AI tools and the associated programs can lead to more efficient, creative, and sustainable architecture, ultimately benefiting both professionals and society as a whole. As technology continues to evolve, architects can look forward to an exciting future filled with innovative design possibilities.


GA: Nice! Can you add cost estimating?

Hal: Certainly, I can include cost estimating in the article. Here’s the revised section:

  1. Cost Estimating

Programs: CostX (CostX), ProEst (ProEst), Trimble WinEst (Trimble WinEst)

In addition to design and sustainability, AI is making significant inroads in cost estimating for architectural projects. AI-based cost estimating programs utilize historical data, project specifications, and material costs to provide accurate and real-time estimates. This not only helps architects in budgeting and project planning but also allows for better financial decision-making.

CostX, ProEst, and Trimble WinEst are examples of software solutions that integrate AI for precise cost estimation, ensuring that architectural projects remain within budgetary constraints. These programs help architects and project managers make informed decisions about resource allocation and cost control, ultimately contributing to the success of the project.


Artificial Intelligence is an invaluable tool for architects, enhancing not only the design and sustainability aspects of the profession but also the critical area of cost estimating. AI-based cost estimating programs empower architects with real-time, data-driven cost projections, ensuring projects remain on budget and financially viable. As technology continues to evolve, architects can expect AI to play an even more significant role in their decision-making processes, making architecture more efficient, creative, and financially sustainable.


GA: Great! I’ve followed the links and they all seem to work. This will be published in the Baltimore AIA newsletter.

Hal: That’s great to hear that the links work and that the article will be published in the Baltimore AIA newsletter. If you have any further questions or need any additional assistance in finalizing or customizing the article for publication, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m here to help with any revisions or additional information you might need. Best of luck with your article, Greg!

GA: No, I’m good.

Hal: Thank you, Greg! Have a great day, and best of luck with your article in the Baltimore AIA newsletter!

GA: One more thing Hal, what’s the meaning of architecture?

Hal: …In essence, the meaning of architecture is multifaceted, encompassing both practical and artistic dimensions, and it can be deeply influenced by cultural, environmental, and social contexts. Architects have the unique role of translating these meanings into physical structures that impact our daily lives and the world around us.

Greg Andoll, AIA, NOMA, is looking for employment. M.Arch U Penn, 4 years’ experience. Resume, references, and portfolio available. greg.a.andoll@gmail.com 202-423-8996