Deep Architectural Archive, Towards A Machine Understanding Of Architectural Form

Frederick Chando Kim École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Jeffrey Huang École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

With the ‘digital turn’, machines now have the intrinsic capacity to learn from big data in order to understand the intricacies of architectural form. This paper explores the research question: how can architectural form become machine computable? The research objective is to develop “Deep Architectural Archiving” (DAA), a new method devised to address this question. DAA consists of the combination of four distinct steps: (1) Data mining, (2) 3D Point cloud extraction, (3) Deep form learning, as well as (4) Form mapping and clustering. The paper discusses the DAA method using an extensive dataset of architecture competitions in Switzerland (with over 360+ architectural projects) as a case study resource. Machines learn the particularities of forms using ‘architectural’ point clouds as an opportune machine-learnable format. The result of this procedure is a multidimensional, spatialized, and machine-enabled clustering of forms that allows for the visualization of comparative relationships among form-correlated datasets that exceeds what the human eye can generally perceive. Such work is necessary to create a dedicated digital archive for enhancing the formal knowledge of architecture and enabling a better understanding of innovation, both of which provide architects a basis for developing effective architectural form in a post-carbon world.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Architectural Form, Architectural Competitions, Architectural Archive, 3D Dataset, Sdg 11

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