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Exploring Sustainability in Architecture: A Collaborative RIBA Workshop

I was recently invited to take part in a very exciting workshop organised by RIBA. Aimed at professionals familiar with AI, we were tasked with the preparation of a proposal for a building in Dubai using AI tools and teamwork from one of the following typologies:

  • Mixed-use high-rise tower
  • Mid-rise community
  • A landmark public building

Working in teams of four, our team was tasked with developing proposals for a mid-rise community and a landmark public building. Initially, we decided to repurpose an existing UAE building as an approach. However, when we worked with Midjourney, we needed help adapting and transforming a Dubai building within the given time frame and it proved a little too challenging.

Instead, we looked at aligning with information and items that could be sustainable in 2040. We discussed and selected words that we could use as prompts to generate ideas and insights.

Our efforts led us to create a captivating image—a waterfront setting adorned with seven leaves symbolising the seven cities of the UAE. Through prompts and remixes on Midjourney, we envisioned a building with a mashrabiya covering for shading and a central farm that brought together different zones within the structure. This design reflected a community setting, a waterfront sustainable city, pushing the boundaries of traditional sustainability concepts.

The prompts we used in Midjourney for the two projects were as follows:

Sustainable Waterfront City prompt:

an aerial photo of a passive midrise residential community in Dubai, year 2040, natural resources, landscaping, waterfront, artificial intelligence, self-sustaining farming community, daytime, futuristic color tones, warm tones, responsible design, optimistic, flourishing, paradise, welcoming, passive design strategy, net zero, smart, self-shaded -- ar 21:9

Desert Rose Stadium prompt:

professional aerial photo of an iconic stadium in Dubai, year 2040, natural resources, arid landscaping, artificial intelligence, daytime, futuristic tones, warm tones, welcoming, large scale, responsible design, optimised, optimistic, passive design, natural shading, passive ventilation, inclusive, adaptable -- ar 21:9

While sharing prompts might seem unconventional, for some, our team chose to share them because we wanted to demonstrate how AI can be a tool for collaboration. Our goal was to encourage a vision where AI freely assists in efforts.

The workshop not only highlighted the abilities of AI tools in design, it also emphasised the significance of collaboration in shaping a sustainable future.

The team members involved in this project:

  • Christine Espinosa-Erlanda
  • Allegra del Bono Venezze
  • Drew Gilbert
  • Harini Shekhar