Hassan Ragab: “The Cairo Sketches” are architectural explorations using Midjourney, an AI text to image generator. The purpose of this art project is to re-investigate the Islamic geometry using more recent mathematical principles. As an Egyptian architect I found it thrilling to apply these concepts over the Mamluk building’s Facade in Cairo. This was implemented through the integration between the basic hexagonal grid, paradoxical spatial geometries and 3d fractals. Maintaining the overall environment look and feel was crucial to get interesting results as well as it was part of the AI training on Mamluk Architecture. The training process consisted of filtering through many iterations to maintain the heritage vibe reflected within the smudgy paints and the medieval color tones.
There are great challenges when generating nonwestern architecture using AI text to image generators. While the reason for that might be in question, I took it as a challenge to try to push the boundaries of what could be created using elements from the Islamic parts in Cairo. The richness of the Islamic geometry is a wonderful base, allowing the addition of layers of complexity using newer mathematical concepts, resulting in intriguing geometrical relationships which could have been very hard to visualize without AI tools.
The Cairo sketches are part of a larger ongoing art project, aiming to explore the potentials of using AI text to image generators to deal with architectural heritage; to revisit and challenge our perception of new technologies and cultural buildings. and lastly to address one important issue with AI art, which is its biases towards more modern and futuristic styles of architecture.