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  • Writer's pictureNatalia Bakaeva

Architect Emeritus | Bridging Generations of Expertise

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of giving a TED talk style with a Q&A at The Colombian BIM Academic Forum.

The Colombian BIM Academic Forum is an autonomous space comprised of representatives from multiple universities in the country dedicated to researching the implementation of BIM in academic and professional environments.

Following this presentation, I wrote this blog post to reflect on my insights and experiences.

It becomes clear that the architectural industry is on the brink of a transformative era. This discourse centers around a pervasive issue within architectural firms: the underutilization of decades of accumulated knowledge. There is a paradox of “dead data,” which architects cannot benefit from in today’s setup, especially on a more junior level. This "lockdown" of knowledge hampers the transfer of invaluable insights from decades of knowledge and stifles innovation by limiting access to past wisdom and experience. If there is no access to the learning, how can we build on it?

Integrating AI as a liberating force for this trapped knowledge is central to the proposed solution. We can transcend traditional barriers by employing AI algorithms, enabling seamless access to a vast reservoir of architectural wisdom. Envisioning a future with an "all-knowing architect persona," an AI wisdom hub could effectively serve as a firm’s internal digital repository, democratizing access to knowledge and fostering an environment of continuous learning and innovation.

The role of predictive analytics in architectural design is one of the critical pieces of the puzzle. A repository of architectural data, both visual and textual, advocates for a more informed decision-making process, enabling project timelines and fee schedules to be built on relevant data collected from the firm’s procedures. Architects can use historical data and predictive algorithms to anticipate potential design outcomes, optimize processes, and mitigate risks. This proactive approach could enhance the efficacy of architectural practices, leading to more productive and impactful project executions.

The development of customized AI tools can also be tailored to the specific needs of architectural firms. These tools automate repetitive tasks and provide actionable insights that could significantly improve workflow efficiency. The envisioned symbiotic relationship between architects and AI tools suggests a future where technology acts as an enabler of creativity rather as a co-author rather than as a replacement.

However, transitioning to such an AI-enhanced paradigm comes with challenges and risks. Concerns about data privacy, intellectual property rights, and the displacement of human agency are significant barriers. The need for ethical and responsible AI implementation is emphasized, calling for transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in deploying these technologies. How this can be achieved can be read in the other blog here.

The vision is about technological advancement and cultural revolutionizing architectural practices. There is a call for a shift in perspective—from viewing AI as a mere tool to seeing it as a partner in the creative process. We see technology as a co-creator, not as a threat but as an advocate for your designs, a companion that helps architects execute their work on time and budget with the optimal design. This paradigm shift encourages a rethinking of traditional practices, advocating for a more collaborative, innovative, and efficient approach to architectural design.

As we look toward the future, it is evident that the integration of AI in architecture offers vast potential to enhance the industry's creative and practical aspects. The hope is to regain clients' trust, reduce liability, increase productivity, and decrease overhead. By embracing AI, we can ensure that architectural practices keep pace with technological advancements and create more responsive and sustainable environments.

About The Colombian BIM Academic Forum

The Colombian BIM Academic Forum is an autonomous space comprised of representatives from multiple universities in the country dedicated to researching the implementation of BIM in academic and professional environments. Additionally, it interacts with the national construction sector through participation in discussions and creating public, private, and mixed strategies.

The forum is open to any person in the construction sector and academia who is interested in researching the implementation of BIM and wishes to share and disseminate their experience in academic and professional environments. This includes technical instructors, university professors, entrepreneurs, and employees from the public and private sectors.

The Forum has five main objectives. The first is to create standardized educational material that specifies a threshold for the fundamentals that students should learn. Also, quality-driven BIM training is needed to promote BIM at all levels of the value chain in Colombia's architecture, engineering, and construction sectors. Third, to foster BIM research and the socialization of results and their adoption in curricula to benefit the various levels of AECO sector training in Colombia, along with joint activities in research, teaching, training, and professional qualification with unions, companies, and government. Similarly, to establish and open a space for participation that allows the advancement of topics related to BIM, thus sharing knowledge around a broad notion of a project that brings together multiple disciplines, experiences, and case studies, among others. Finally, conceptual normalization seeks to strengthen the standardization of BIM concepts and definitions in the industry and academia.


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