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Is AI in architecture taking off in the MENA region?

Article-Is AI in architecture taking off in the MENA region?

Architecture Technology
AI in architecture is a nascent but pivotal trend, in the MENA region and elsewhere in the world.

Where once artificial intelligence (AI) was a frontier technology, whose applications were only being discovered, it has slowly seeped into sectors that are both niche and creative, such as architecture.

Because AI is “trained” to think based on data sets, it cannot create something entirely new yet, which is a function of creativity and innovation. So AI cannot yet replace the architect’s creative process.

AI in architecture can, however, provide cutting edge support systems that can push the creative boundaries of what architects can do, and how much time they will need to do it. 


Perhaps the biggest impact that the application of AI in architecture has brought is the ability to process large and multiple sets of data for conceptual design and preliminary iterations. This will essentially give architects “the ability to push a button and get alternatives instantly.”

In parametric design, for instance, parameters are manipulated using algorithms to provide a range of design outputs within minutes. These kinds of generative AI techniques allow architects to build on analytical capabilities, making the experimentation process both flexible and efficient.

In addition to enhancing processes, AI in architecture will also allow architects to build AI into the design fabric, building homes, offices, and cities that are smart and data-oriented. 


It’s still early days for AI in architecture within the MENA region (and worldwide as well). There are, however, some promising signs.

In Sharjah, waste management company Bee’ah’s new headquarters, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, is an example of AI being built into the architectural composition of buildings. Apart from relying fully on renewable energy, the buildings are fully integrated with AI, including facial recognition and energy optimisation, amongst other smart functions.

The growing trend of smart cities and buildings in the MENA region further indicates that architecture professionals and firms in the region will have to increasingly work with AI, both for design outputs as well as their internal processes.

The MENA region, and the UAE and Saudi Arabia in particular, have been forward-looking with their approach to emerging technologies such as AI. The region is already home to architectural marvels, such as Dubai’s Museum of the Future and Giza’s Grand Egyptian Museum

Experimental syndicates such as the Middle East Architecture Network, and the Middle East Architecture Lab add to the prospects of AI in architecture. Going forward, this will create a foundational incentive for architects to push the boundaries of what’s possible with AI.


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