Sensibilities of artificial intelligence an examination of architecture in a posthuman design ecology

  • Authors: Matias del Campo, Sandra Manninger
  • Publication: IMPACT: DESIGN WITH ALL SENSES – Proceedings of the Design Modelling Symposium, Berlin(2019)
A collection of two datasets – Baroque and Modern images – form the basis for the resulting models. (Image: Mariana Sanche & Leetee Wang, PennDesign, University of Pennsylvania 2018)

The main aim of this paper is to demonstrate a methodology of design that interrogates aspects of Artificial Intelligence and its abilities to develop novel sensibilities. The presented project, The Church of AI (fig1), discusses the design technique itself as well as the underlying aspects of aesthetic, ethic, and existence. The project started in the course Architectural Automations. An Advanced Design Studio of PennDesign 1, with the focus on the transforming potential of Artificial Intelligence and automation in architecture. The results of the studio addressed aspects of autonomous behavior in construction (Performative Machine 2), the changed relationship to creative practice (Golden Playhouse 3), and Worship & AI (Church of AI 4). The latter was selected as a topic for this paper as it demonstrates in a provocative fashion the multitude of lenses of observation for a problem like Artificial Intelligence and Architecture. Not only as a toolset to optimize very specific elements of architecture such as floorplan, material consumption, and structure, but rather to emphasize architecture’s ability to serve as a cultural marker and place of worship. To that extent, it proposes a position that radically challenges the idea of computational methodologies as tools of expedience and efficiency and rather embraces the possibility to use it as a tool of communication between the human mindset and an, as to this date, alien intelligence. Alien in the sense of de-familiarization or estrangement 5. Following intense conversations in the studio about the nature of AI, and its possible impact on architecture the project The Church of AI started speculating about the various possible aesthetic conversations

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