Artificial intelligence

“Only by adopting AI can you be involved in its control”

AI will free architects from repetition and allow them to focus on things that add value to society, says the CEO of LookX, a tech company that seeks to revolutionize the building design process.

WatchX describes itself as the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) tool trained specifically for architects.

Wanyu He founded the company in Shenzhen in 2016 as Xkool Technology. The team includes ex-senior Google engineers, AI scientists, mathematicians, and cross-designers.

LookX uses AI to generate an architectural design
LookX is the world’s first AI tool trained specifically for architects

The English version of the platform, LookX, was later founded as a separate company in Los Angeles.

LookX’s stated goal is to transform architectural design with AI technology, allowing architects to be free to focus on creative expression rather than repetitive operational tasks.

He is a former senior architect of the Dutch architecture studio AMO who studied the intersection between architecture and computer science at Belgrade Institute of Delft University of Technology.

Wanyu He, Founder and CEO of LookXWanyu He, Founder and CEO of LookX
He is the co-founder and CEO of LookX

Speaking to Dezeen, she cautioned against jumping to conclusions about AI based on news headlines.

“We shouldn’t judge AI without fully understanding AI,” she said. “Current AI is narrow intelligence – it can only perform specific tasks under the direction of humans. The role of humans in managing AI is increasingly important.”

She dismissed concerns – previously expressed in a Dezeen opinion piece by Professor Neil Leach of Florida International University – on the jobs of architects lost to AI.

“Technology will continue to drive society forward,” he said. “How many jobs have been lost since the industrial revolution? Meanwhile, new jobs have been created.”

“As human beings, we need to understand what our main competitiveness is. Technology will free us from repetition and allow us to focus on things that add value to society.”

LookX uses AI to generate an architectural designLookX uses AI to generate an architectural design
LookX helps architects avoid lengthy data calculation processes. Picture by Fan Chuan

The rise of AI will allow architects to focus on smaller, more rewarding projects, she suggested.

“In China, for example, we’re so used to large-scale projects,” she said.

“But if you look closely at the hutongs of Beijing, the alleys of Shanghai and the urban villages of Shenzhen which affect the daily lives of many people but which we have never really paid attention to, it is not possible to embark on these projects only if we release more human resources from the big stories, and new jobs will naturally arise.”

He said the main challenge for architects regarding AI was to develop a good enough understanding of the technology to shape its impact on the profession.

“Dismissing technology won’t make it go away,” she said. “Only by kissing it can you be involved in controlling it.”

LookX uses AI to generate an architectural designLookX uses AI to generate an architectural design
LookX also supports urban planning for architects. Picture by Fan Chuan

His journey to AI began with his own frustrations while working as an architect at OMA.

“Everyone works so hard, overtime is the norm,” she said.

“Most of the time is spent proposing feasibility tests over and over again,” she continued. “Especially for international studios like OMA, testing is unavoidable because it’s impossible to know the different regulations in each country.”

This is where she thinks AI can come in. LookX develops algorithms to quickly generate, evaluate and recommend blueprints for architects that take into account local regulatory requirements while providing real-time cost analysis. .

By letting the AI ​​do these calculations, he argues, architects can avoid a long and tedious process and focus primarily on design development.

LookX AILookX AI
LookX’s AI technology is capable of supporting a variety of architectural design processes

However, she also suggested that AI could finally spell the end of one of the most fundamental elements of architectural design – sketching.

“Hand drawings cannot contain all the data information required by the project, including regulatory restrictions and budget restrictions,” He said.

“Since the final schema must meet all data requirements, why not use AI to generate data-driven schemas from the start?” she asked.

LookX uses AI to generate an architectural designLookX uses AI to generate an architectural design
LookX intends to extend its AI services to interior designers

Zaha Hadid Architects major Patrick Schumacher recently revealed that the studio already uses AI image generators such as DALL-E 2 and Midjourney to come up with design ideas for projects.

But he thinks the potential uses for these kinds of tools in architecture are limited.

“If you ask Midjourney to create an unusually shaped building, the results would be very abstract and out of control, virtually impossible to build in real life, because the AI ​​hasn’t been trained in architectural design language.”

“LookX has not only pretrained its AI on architectural models, but also allows architects to train the AI ​​models themselves to fit more specific design parameters,” she added.

LookX recently opened an office in Berlin to further expand its service globally, while also intending to work in the ability to design interiors using the platform.

Designer Tim Fu used the tool transform crushed paper into building models evoking the designs of architects Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.

This interview was conducted in Chinese and has been translated into English by the author.

Photography courtesy of LookX unless otherwise stated.

Artwork by Selina Yau


This article is part of Dezeen AItopia series, which explores the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on design, architecture and humanity, today and in the future.

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