New & Noteworthy

Artificial Intelligence in the AEC Idusrtry

Our AEC industry has been rapidly evolving with the advancement of technology, specifically Artificial intelligence (AI), which is at the forefront of this transformation.  AI has already started to change many ways firms in our industry conduct business, from AI-powered Safety monitoring to optimizing building design for sustainability.  With AI technology becoming more advanced every day, it’s crucial for AEC professionals to stay updated on the latest AI applications and how they can find a way to integrate them into their work.  In this blog post, we will discuss the top ways AI is changing the AEC industry and explore the potential benefits and challenges of adopting particular AI applications.

Predominantly, AI is evolving design and, specifically, design optimization.  Architects specifically can utilize AI design optimization tools such as algorithms to analyze and evaluate different design alternatives and explore design options that are more energy-efficient, structurally sound, and cost-effective.  This is key, especially here in Washington, as the 2018 code change goes into effect in July of this year, and not too long after, the 2021 code changes will soon go into effect.  AI can also help architects and engineers identify possible design flaws and adjust before construction begins.  This will reduce the costs of revisions and rework, saving architects time and developers money.  Lastly, AI can analyze user preferences and behavior to create more personalized and user-friendly building designs.  By utilizing AI design optimization tools, architects can save time, reduce errors, and make more informed design decisions that will improve building performance and user experience.

Moreover, AI-powered construction safety is another way that AI is changing the AEC game.  By using advanced sensors, cameras, and machine learning algorithms, AI can monitor construction sites in real time and detect potential safety hazards.  All AEC firms can utilize these tools, but Architects specifically have a responsibility to design buildings that meet safety regulations, and by using AI-powered safety monitoring, firms can help ensure that their designs are implemented correctly.  These tools can help AEC firms by reducing the likelihood of costly delays, legal disputes, accidents, and reputational damage.  Additionally, AI safety monitoring can provide valuable feedback on design decisions’ effectiveness, allowing firms to make improvements and optimizations in future projects.  Overall, AI construction safety monitoring is an industry game changer and can help architects, engineers, and contractors ensure their designs and plans are executed safely and efficiently, leading to better project outcomes and enhanced firm reputations.

Finally, the last big AI industry transformer is AI-powered predictive maintenance.  Building maintenance is something that nobody, no matter how well-designed the building is, can avoid.  Things go wrong, and maintenance will be needed.  AI can monitor the performance of building systems and equipment in real-time, detecting potential equipment failures before they can occur.  This significantly will affect the overall cost by preventing costly downtime, repairs, and replacements.  From an architect firm’s perspective, AI predictive maintenance will help inform future design decisions.  By analyzing the equipment performance data, architect firms can better understand how the building systems are being used and how they can be optimized for improved performance and reliability.  Predictive maintenance can also support sustainability goals by enabling building owners to track and reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.  This means the AEC industry can take another step to build a better world.

Altogether, these AI-powered improvements will significantly affect the industry, whether we want it to or not.  The AEC firms that are quick to adapt to these AI-powered systems and find a way to integrate them into their everyday work will be the ones to succeed.  AI-powered systems are poised to revolutionize the AEC industry in so many ways.  From design optimization to construction safety monitoring to preventative maintenance, AI is helping architects, engineers, and construction professionals make data-driven decisions that improve building performance, reduce overall costs, and enhance user experience.  By leveraging AI-powered tools and technologies, the AEC industry can become more efficient, productive, and, most importantly sustainable, while ensuring workers’ and building occupants’ safety and well-being.  While there are still challenges and limitations to be addressed, the potential of AI in the industry is vast, and its impact is already being felt.  As AI continues to mature, we can expect even more transformative changes in the years ahead.

Black History Month: Tackling Racism through Architecture

Architecture has the power to shape our communities and the world around us.  The built environment profoundly impacts our daily lives, from the buildings we live and work in to the public spaces we gather in.  In a world that is still grappling with systemic racism and inequality, it is more important than ever to use the power of architecture to fight against these injustices.  In this blog post, we will explore how architects and designers use their skills and platforms to create a more equitable and inclusive built environment and how we can all work together to use architecture as a tool for social justice.  Whether it’s through designing spaces that promote diversity and inclusivity or advocating for policies that support communities of color, there are many ways that architects and designers can help to fight against racism and build a better future.  Join us as we examine the role of architecture in the ongoing struggle for social justice, and discover ways that you can use your skills and passions to make a positive impact.

It is important to remember and honor the black architects who helped shape the world we live in today.  Black architects have made essential contributions to the built environment in America since the earliest days of the nation’s history.  Despite facing significant barriers and discrimination, black architects have used their skills and creativity to help shape the country, designing buildings and spaces that reflect the values and aspirations of their communities.  From Vertner Tandy, the first licensed black architect in New York state, to Robert R. Taylor, who designed Tuskegee Institute’s campus, black architects have played a significant role in shaping the built environment of America.  Their work has helped create more inclusive and equitable spaces for people of color, and their legacy continues to inspire future generations of architects and designers.  Overcoming all the challenges they did, these historic black architects helped lay the foundation for the continued growth and development of the architecture profession, and their contributions continue to have a lasting impact on the built environment in America.

Not only did black architects help mold our country in the past, but they are still shaping our future today.  The Architizer Journal features a piece on the 12 Black Architects Making History Today.  These architects are using their designs to challenge traditional norms, promote diversity, inclusivity, and make a positive difference in their communities.  The article features a diverse range of architects, including emerging talents and established professionals, working on various projects, from residential and commercial buildings to public spaces and community-based initiatives.  By showcasing the work and achievements of these architects, the article aims to inspire future generations of architects and highlight the importance of diversity and representation in the field of architecture, which, sadly, has been scarce in the industry. But hopefully, by highlighting these black professionals, we can amplify their stories and encourage others to do the same until equality and equity are achieved.  Similarly, by having more black representation in the industry, there is more awareness brought around how architecture directly affect black communities, and thus architects alike can do what they can to positively impact those communities.

But we must ask why there is a scarcity of black representation in the architecture world.  Kendall A. Nicholson writes a beautiful piece on how breaking into the industry as a person of color is difficult and why that is.  Black men make up just under 2% of licensed architects, while the statistic for black women is 1 out of every 5 black architects.  This begs an even bigger question, why are black students less likely to choose architecture than any other service profession?  We have started out by asking a lot of questions, and will hopefully be able to shed some light on why being a black architect in America today is a triumph.  Another sad data point is that while there are 360 different honors awards for architects since 1907, less than 1% have been awarded to black people.  Less than 1%!  It is no wonder why young black students do not want to pursue a career in architecture, it has no long-term reward, no recognition, and no support.  In a sense we set these young people up to fail by not providing what is needed for them to succeed in the industry.  It is also made clear that architect firms around the nation cannot just do their necessary “diversity hire” to inflict a change, specifically on the architecture industry as a whole.  It starts through learning, educating staff on the racial inequities that exists, and how to fight them.  From there, amplifying the voices of current black architects are what their stories are, what it was like for them breaking into this industry.  And finally support.  Supporting black students through scholarships, getting into schools and speaking about the need for black architects and how we can support them so that one day their work makes a true difference, and is rewarded for that.  But first we must start where we are, recognizing the bias either conscious or unconscious, speaking up where we can, and supporting those who need it the most.

Being a black American architect in 2023 can be both challenging and rewarding. On one hand, there is still a significant amount of systemic racism and discrimination in the industry, which can make it difficult for black architects to advance in their careers and secure high-profile projects. On the other hand, there has been a growing recognition of the need for greater diversity and representation in architecture, and black architects are increasingly being sought out for their unique perspectives and contributions to the field.  Despite the challenges, black architects are making significant strides and leaving their mark on the built environment, using their designs to help create more inclusive and equitable spaces for communities of color. With hard work, perseverance, and a passion for their craft, black American architects are helping to shape the future of architecture in meaningful and lasting ways.

So how do we fight this?  How do we encourage and support black and other people of color succeed in this industry?  Architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) firms have a unique opportunity to help fight against racism and promote diversity and inclusiveness in the built environment. There are several steps that AEC firms can take to help advance this cause, including:

  1. Hiring and promoting a diverse workforce – AEC firms can work to create a more diverse and inclusive work environment by hiring and promoting employees from underrepresented groups, such as people of color and women.
  2. Encouraging diversity in design – By promoting diversity in the design process, AEC firms can help to create spaces that reflect and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of communities of color.
  3. Engaging with communities of color – AEC firms can work to build stronger relationships with communities of color by listening to their needs and concerns and engaging in open and respectful dialogue.
  4. Supporting policies that promote diversity and inclusion – AEC firms can advocate for policies and initiatives that help to create a more equitable and inclusive built environment.

By taking these and other steps, AEC firms can play a vital role in the fight against racism and work towards creating a better, more just world.

**Source: Architecture Has A Diversity Issue (

The New 2023 World Captial of Architecture

2023 is starting with a bang in the architecture world!  The International Union of Architects (UIA) has chosen a new city to be the new World Capital of Architecture! *Drumroll please* Copenhagen, Denmark!  The UIA chose this beautiful city based on certain criteria that showcase how the city has sought solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change while preserving the elegance and design of buildings.

Copenhagen is taking on the responsibility of carrying the title from the previous world capital, Rio De Janeiro.  Some of the duties thrust upon the world capital of architecture include hosting a series of events and programs under one common theme: “Sustainable Futures – Leave No One Behind.”

The torch will change hands again in 2026, but the UIA is already looking at two highly qualified candidates, Barcelona, Spain, and Beijing, China.

For more information about the World Capital of Architecture, please visit the Copenhagen website for more information about programs and events.