An architect asked artificial intelligence to design the city of the future.this is what it proposes

author: Oscar Holland, CNN

Manas Bhatia has a bold vision for the future in which residential skyscrapers covered in trees, plants and algae act as “air purification towers”.

In a series of detailed images, the New Delhi-based architect and computational designer brings the idea to life. His imagined buildings are depicted towering above futuristic metropolises, their curved forms inspired by shapes found in nature.

But the pictures were not entirely his own imagination.

The architect's concept tower was created using artificial intelligence imaging software.

The architect’s concept tower was created using artificial intelligence imaging software. Credit: Courtesy Manas Bhatia

For his concept project “AI x Future Cities,” Bhatia turned to Midjourney, an artificial intelligence imaging tool that generates beautiful pictures based on written prompts. Using a series of textual descriptions – featuring phrases such as “futuristic tower”, “utopian technology”, “symbiosis” and “bioluminescent material” – Midjourney produces a series of digital images that Bhatia hones through to prompt These images were further adjusted.

It can take up to 20 minutes to make each surreal artwork, Bhatia said. He made nearly 100 improvements to each item’s description, edited and added to the text until the desired effect was achieved, and then used Photoshop to clean up the image.

“The trial and error part is the most fun,” the architect said by phone. “We use artificial intelligence to create the images, and in the process, the AI ‚Äč‚Äčtrains itself and improves over time.”

Bhatia also asked artificial intelligence software to imagine residential towers built on trees that continue to grow over time.

Bhatia also asked artificial intelligence software to imagine residential towers built on trees that continue to grow over time. Credit: Courtesy Manas Bhatia

In another project called Symbiotic Architecture, Bhatia envisions a future where buildings are made of living materials. Using cues like “giant” and “hollow,” he produced images of what he called a “utopian future,” in which apartments are formed among mahogany-sized trees.

He said it was inspired by Hyperion, a 380-foot-tall California redwood that is considered the tallest living tree in the world. But he also drew on his day job at Indian architecture firm Ant Studio, whose projects include retrofitting buildings with new facades to encourage natural ventilation and reduce energy consumption.

“The ‘skin’ of the building is organic and inspired by nature, and the inspiration (the idea) of how evaporative cooling and transpiration occurs so that (the tower can) regulate its own temperature throughout the day,” Bhatia added. “We can create organic Building materials, and in order to survive and grow, buildings can self-ventilate through these natural processes. “

Bhatia's

Bhatia’s “Symbiosis Architecture” project was inspired by giant redwood trees. Credit: Courtesy Manas Bhatia

The recent popularity of AI imaging tools such as OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 and Google Research’s Imagen raises new questions about creativity and artistic integrity.
Last month, Colorado-based game designer Jason M. Allen won $300 in a controversial contest. Art competition with futuristic, renaissance-inspired imagery created with Midjourney. While some social media users and artists have voiced their disapproval of Allen’s approach, the designer said his submission — which he spent more than 80 hours creating — qualifies as a digital artwork.

For Bhatia, AI is just another tool. “Art is completely interpretable,” he said. “Artists can use any tool to create art. Anyone can use AI, but they can’t achieve the same results as creative people.”

The architect believes that artificial intelligence will find wider application in the design world.

The architect believes that artificial intelligence will find wider application in the design world. Credit: Courtesy Manas Bhatia

The architects added that it can inspire new ideas and enrich the design process by producing something beyond the imagination of users. He even envisions a future where artificial intelligence could generate 3D designs and integrate into the software architects use to model their creations.

“It has huge potential,” he said. “In our studio, we’ve tried using AI to generate mood board images for client presentations, and it works really well… It’s something to look forward to in the near future when architects and designers combine AI.”

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