A handful of little green blocks flashes up on the screen, filling a building site with a neat grid of uniform cubes. One second they form rows of towers, next they morph into low-rise courtyards, then they flip back into long slender slabs, before cycling through hundreds of other iterations, in a hypnotic high-speed ballet of bristling buildings.
I watch this while on a Zoom call with Wanyu He, an architect based in Shenzhen, China, and the founder of XKool, an artificial intelligence company determined to revolutionise the architecture industry. She freezes the dancing blocks and zooms in, revealing a layout of hotel rooms that fidget and reorder themselves as the building swells and contracts. Corridors switch sides, furniture dances to and fro. Another click and an invisible world of pipes and wires appears, a matrix of services bending and splicing in mesmerising unison, the location of lighting, plug sockets and switches automatically optimised. One further click and the construction drawings pop up, along with a cost breakdown and components list. The entire plan is ready to be sent to the factory to be built.
I applaud He on what seems to be an impressive theoretical exercise: a 500-room hotel complex designed in minutes with the help of AI. But she looks confused. "Oh," she says casually, "that's already been built! It took four and a half months from start to finish."=
From The Guardian (U.K.)
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