Data-driven design

Data-driven design will make work easier for architects and will make architectural project more available for customers. That will give birth to the new “mass-market architecture”.

Our research started with basic questions: What is the future of architecture and design industries? How does the future of the profession look like? Over the course of our research we examined the role of architects in the future design processes and decided to focus on software technologies that enable data-driven design. Simplifying architectural work, it gives birth to the new “mass-market architecture”. The phenomenon of “mass-market architecture” is one of the possible scenarios of further development of design industry. We tried to understand the opportunities it brings and challenges it faces.

Why automation is important?

The reason why automation is so important is that it brings available and good quality products for better price.

Historical facts


Few centuries ago books were produced in the way that made them available to rich people only. Nowadays — thanks to technologies — you can read books on your phone and even make your own ones with no effort.


Similar situation with clothes. Once unique, expensive hand-made products, now shoes and dresses are affordable and easy to produce.


What made these products so broadly available? Development of industries and technological innovations transformed the sectors.

Industry stages

We have asked ourselves: How will progressive automation transform architecture in the future?

We are now at the doorsteps of the next era - Industry 4.0 - which is going to be about the cyber-physical connection. You will be able to talk to your car at anytime and anyplace and, for example, order it to find you. But what will Industry 4.0 mean for architecture?

Mechanization:water powersteam power Industry 1.0 Mass Production:assembly lineelectricity Industry 2.0 ComputarisationAutomation Industry 3.0 Cyber Physical Sysems Industry 4.0

Industry stages and technologies

Neolithic / New stone age 9000bc - 5000 bc Periodline Milestone Stonehadge Buildings in Skara Brae Main Technologies and Innova- -stone-wood-mud bricks Iron Age / Ancient Egypt 3100 bc - 332 bc Pyramid of Giza Karnak Temple Main Technologies and Innova- -stones-sun-baked bricks Iron Age / Ancient Greece 8th century bc - 600 ad The Parthenon Temple of Apollo at Didyma The Acropolis Main Technologies and Innova- -mud bricks-stone cut blocks with metal cramps-plumbing-spiral staircase-heating-urban planning-water weel-oldest “construction drawing” Iron Age / Romans 753 bc - 476 ad Pantheon Roman aqueducts Colosseum Main Technologies and Innova- -stone-wood-mud bricks-roman cement-glass-timber cranes for building process Main Technologies and Innova- -wood-timber frame-building manual “Yingzao Fashi” Iron Age / China 5 century ad - 15 century ad The Forbidden City The Temple of Heaven The Fogong Temple Pagoda Main Technologies and Innova- -vaults-flying buttresses-pointed arch Medieval / Gothic 12 century ad - 16 century ad Reims Cathedral Milan Cathedral Cologne Cathedral Main Technologies and Innova- -wood until 1000ad-stone-stone barrel vaults-timber roofs Medieval / Romanesque 600 ad - 1100 ad Maria Laach Abbey Castello di Venere The Tower of London Main Technologies and Innova- -brick-stone-vaults-domes (double skin with ribs)-first definition of “architect” by Vitruvius Renaissance 14 century ad - 17 century ad The dome of Florence Cathedral Villa Capra La Rotonda Tempietto di San Pietro in Montorio Main Technologies and Innova- -experimental science to inform the form-glass manufacturing Enlightenment / 17 century Château de Maisons Amsterdam City Hall Les Invalides Main Technologies and Innova- -computer-aided design-prefabrication-robotic-construction-robotic-fabrication-3d-printing-user-design/self-education-re-active architecture (adaptable)-eco-design-robot-oriented design-augmented reality 2000 - nowadays 21 century WinSun 3d printed houses ICD | ITKE pavilion Cloud 9 Building Main Technologies and Innova- -artificial intelligence-automated design process-architect as moderator-the internet of spaces-smart city-dynamic bio models-cybernetic-automata theory-models of computation-artificial life-bioinformatics-mathematical and theoretical -biology-computational biology-synthetic biology-homeostasis-bionics-... Induty 4.0 / Future ... Main Technologies and Innova- -science and math were employed in building Enlightenment / 18 century Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale Louvre House of Commons building Main Technologies and Innova- -iron/iron columns-cast iron for constructions 1 Industrial Revolution / 19 century Tower Bridge Eiffel Tower Crystal Palace Labrouste's Bibliothèques Main Technologies and Innova- -steel massproduction-I - beams-reinforced concrete-glass massproduction 2 Industrial Revolution / 20 century 1900 - 1940 Chrysler Building Empire State Building Crystal Palace Rockefeller Center Main Technologies and Innova- -elevatiors-cranes-high rise-modular-prefabrication-internet-CAD Information Revolution / 20 century 1940 - 1990 IBM Plaza Nakagin Capsule Tower “Hruschevka” Jewish Museum Unité d'Habitation Iron Age / Mesopotamia 3100 bc - 539 bc Main Technologies and Innova- -pitched-brick vault-mud bricks-dried bricks Ziggurat of Ur Tell al-Rimah

Industry stages and people

The development of Industry 4.0 and it`s technologies will bring us to a new wave of reaction in close future.
There are tendencies to develop new legislation system that will be able to protect human and companies wrights in the new reality of Industry 4.0 and will provide one communicative language for future conversations and decision making.

1788 1813 1990 2016 IV-III C. B.C. Socrates vs Writing system Textile workers vs industrial equipment Luddite actsin England INDUSTRIAL WAVE AGRICULTURAL WAVE POST-INDUSTRIAL WAVE INDUSTRY 4.0 Chellis Glendinning: Neo-Luddist manifesto Stephen Hawking vs technology which is driver of ever-increasing inequality 1953 Martin Heidegger vs technology

Technological development

Technologies are developing rapidly; eventually we will reach the point when technologies are so complicated that they can’t be human-controlled. That would create a new system of optimisation.


How Industry 4.0 could influence architecture

It is possible to look at the impact of Industry 4.0 through three lenses:





Modern technology allows to simplify and automate the process of project implementation and fabrication. 3D-printing, CNC-machines, robot-aided fabrication are already being used in construction and will only expand their areas of application.

  1. The process of design will be happening in parallel with construction works and even with production of construction materials. This will be made possible by the production chain in which the architect works on a project through BIM (Building Information Modeling) -- constantly in connection with the construction robot. The process will bring new understanding of speed and time saving in the industry. Take "Winsun" company in China: they can now make 12 houses in 24 hours using 3D-printing technology.
  2. Fully automated construction process will help to avoid failures and achieve perfect outcomes. Throughout its industrial history humanity has always strived to max effectiveness. Automated robotic process of construction will help to achieve better quality, safety and results.
  3. Reactive/adaptive architecture will at the same time influence shape, function and materials of a building. Smart materials and intelligent constructions will be able to adapt themselves to the changing demands of the environment, maximizing value through such transformations.


Various softwares are now being actively used in the process of design, but without realizing its full potential. The future lies in the development of interactive aspects of software.

Perspective Spheres

CloudComputing 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. AugmentedReality GenerativeDesign HumanComputer Interactions VirtualDesign SmartData 7. NaturalUser Environment



Software examples

  1. Flux — provides generative design which is formed by smart data input.
  2. Grasshopper — provides visualisation of scripting which helps to create parametric architecture.
  3. Formit by Autodesk — allows an architect to work on a project through touchpad, which marks the evolution from graphical user interface to natural user interface. The program also uses cloud computing, so the work can be done through smartphone or tablet.
  4. Home Design 3D — represents the family of applications that let users make their own design without any professional help.

Generative design algorithm

Simply put, generative design is a process in which you input data that then gets transformed into sets of algorithms (or patterns) to form the project. By changing the input you automatically change the project.



Apart from the simplicity this method also provides possibility of personalisation and customisation of the result. It is due to the fact that you input any personal information.
Another benefit is the variation, which springs from variants generated by the algorithm. Algorithmic design, thus, provides infinite solutions.

? archi t ect user making making c on c e p t building

Style as an algorythm

What if architectural style was also only an algorithm? What if we could present a style as a number of features? Their combinations will then provide us with an algorithm. By collecting special traits of an architect we can get patterns of his or her style. That allows us to reduce the workload, make the process effective, fast and automated.