5 Things that AI Cannot do in Architecture

5 Things that AI Cannot do in Architecture 1178 490 Garrett DeLano


An AI generated rendering from sketch

5 Things AI Cannot do in Architecture

If you have paid any attention in the last year to the Architecture industry, the buzz around artificial intelligence (AI) has without a doubt been one of the main topics. From advanced design algorithms, click of the button renderings, to streamlined construction processes, people have witnessed AI’s significant impact on shaping the built environment. However, I feel there are at least five distinct things that AI cannot do in Architecture.


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1. Seal Drawings

I could see a day in the distant future where more progressive jurisdictions will accept a fully AI generated set of plans, including engineering. But for now, all municipalities and cities will still require a signed and sealed set of documents directly from an architect, engineer, or design professional to approve projects for construction. This is a protection to architects and clients alike as you are still required to have a registered Architect involved in the design process to maintain a level of quality control on the health and safety of the public.

2. Build

It may be an obvious point, but one thing AI cannot do in architecture is build projects. As long as we are still living indoors (hint, for all of time), we will have a need for physically built spaces that are structurally sound. Until buildings are mass fabricated globally by robots either off-site or on-site, AI will not be able to take the dynamic renderings it generates and turn it into a physical building.

Arc Three employees on site

3. Listen to Clients

If you have tried ChatGPT, or some other AI software, I’m certain you have felt a little frustrated and discovered that it takes a while to get the prompt for what you want exactly right. Now imagine that frustration x 1,000 to get the perfectly curated design. Simply put, AI cannot effectively sit and listen to clients without that person being an expert prompt writer to get the details of a new home right. Sure, someone could get a building design from AI quickly; but does it fit the site, meet the design goals, fit within a budget, etc.? The value of an Architect is largely in their ability to listen to their clients in a deep way.

4. It Cannot Truly Innovate

A fourth thing that AI cannot do in architecture is truly innovate. The best architecture firms around the world are experts at creating unheard of solutions to difficult design problems. What AI is great at is sourcing things across the internet that already exist and homogenizing them into whatever it spits out. It still takes immense human brain power to think about problems and provide unique and one-of-a-kind solutions.

5. Be Human

Another point that may not need to be stated but should not be overlooked is that AI cannot be human. A certain percentage of the market likes to self-perform, and the less interaction they have with other humans, the better; but most people like to work with other people, it is what makes life enjoyable and fun. There is nothing like collaborating with a great Architect or designer to design your next building. I do not want to start drawing again with a T-square, so I am thankful for technology. But, only to enhance the quality of work and ability to work with other humans, not to replace them.  Here is a great discussion on the role AI is playing in architecture offices today: The Future of Architecture