Manas Bhatia, an Architect and computational designer from India, has been using the potential of the artificial intelligence (AI) tool Midjourney to create surreal architectural concepts. In this project, he imagines a surreal future that has ‘symbiotic’ architectural apartment towers that look like giant hollow redwood trees. Inspired by the Hyperion tree, the architect seeks to go beyond the realm of physical architectural design to present a series of AI-generated images, and drawings of the apartments that really makes one question the idea of such symbiotic buildings.
Owing to a deep relationship with nature Manas has been exploring the ideas of how patterns occur in nature, how networks are formed in the dwellings of micro creatures, and how plants behave according to the natural stimuli and such theories. Can we design by learning from nature? Nature is the best architect after all!
"I have always been fascinated by how small insects and creatures create their dwellings in nature. Ants for example create their dwellings with intricate networks in the soil. If humans could create buildings that grow and breathe like plants do, what an amazing world would that be to live in!"
Going back to the roots!
The idea behind this exploration was to firstly touch upon the experiences we all have shared with nature. Like cherishing the share of the tree on a sunny day, sitting with a newspaper in a courtyard under a tree, or just loitering around in the park observing the colour of the leaves. And continuing with this idea, came the the vision a ‘utopian future’ in which buildings are not machines made from concrete or steel, instead, are live and can grow to accommodate the ever-growing needs for housing. Imagine a hollowed-out Hyperion tree with apartments facing inwards and natural lighting sweeps in creating an enchanted natural space. Magical and yet so pragmatic in a natural way. Can we create architecture that is symbiotic in nature? Can Buildings grow? Can the envelope in which we live breathe as creatures do instead of us dwelling in air-conditioned concrete and glass boxes we call apartments?
How I used AI to achieve the vision!
Aiding his conceptual research imaginations Manas utilizes the AI program Midjourney, a tool that uses a series of words/phrases termed “prompt” to generate an array of images based on the prompt. For this project a combination of words like “giant”,”hollowed”,”tree”,”stairs”,”facade”and ”plants” were used as the prompt. Then multiple iterations were run and the prompt was altered with the iterations to achieve the desired results. The key aspect of such AI tools is the choice of words. Sometimes one may not achieve the expected result. However, the generated output gives way to an alternative vision that even the user may have not thought of and that is the beauty of it!
With new age technology and tools available architects and designers will be able to create their visions with more convenience directly translating their thoughts into drawings, renderings, and 3D models making the industry faster and more efficient. Using technology combined with the knowledge of natural systems architects will be able to create more biologically integrated designs. The possibilities are endless!