It was a lovely autumn day, and the colours were even on display in Zurich’s Oerlikon district.
The event was held at Stage One, an event space a short walk from the Oerlikon train station.
I was mainly there for the AI+AEC workshop, but there were a number of mainstage presentations and exhibits by startups and larger companies involved in AI.
The workshops were held upstairs, above the exhibition space.
As a warm-up for the AEC-centric session, I sat in on the AI+Sustainability session, which comprised of four separate talks followed by a panel discussion.
The first was by David Dao, who talked about the use of AI with satellite imagery to understand and predict deforestation.
Next was Thomas Brunshwiler from IBM Research, who talked about various activities they’re engaged in, mainly using geospatial and satellite data to do things such as classifying flood damage.
Christoph Goessman from ETH talked about his work on the SDG monitor, a tool to understand international progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Panagiotis Martakis from Seismohealth talked about their use of AI to predict seismic damage to infrastructure.
In between workshop sessions I had a quick walk around to see the exhibits on display. There really was a huge variety of companies present, from robotics startups to established law firms.
I also poked my nose into the mainstage area, although I didn’t end up staying to watch the presentations there.
The AI+AEC workshop was being run by the Design++ team from ETH. I’ve been connected with this team for some time, but hadn’t yet had the chance to meet any of the team in person.
It turns out I presented the inaugural online lecture for Design++ two years ago, so it was definitely time to meet in person!
Great talk this morning on Generative Design @autodesk by @keanw. This was our inaugural lecture for the Design++ computationally augmented design in AEC lecture series. Nice way to kick it off! pic.twitter.com/nPfrQF5hqq
— Daniel Hall (@DanielHall__) November 11, 2020
The event was kicked off with an introduction by Danielle Griego.
The pre-work for the session was to read an article by the next speaker, Iro Armeni, who talked about gradient realities in AEC.
Anton Savov talked about collaborative AI in architectural design, including a number of interesting insights around interaction paradigms.
The last speaker of the session was Michael Kraus, who talked about domain-aware generative AI in design.
The rest of the session was a collaborative workshop, where participants developed scenarios for various personas in the gradient world: Architect, Engineer, Contractor, Building User and Real Estate Developer. I chose to be on the Architect team, given my focus on human-centric building design.
After the workshop was finished, I headed back to the exhibit floor where the Design++ team presented a few different posters. I was happy to see Dynamo was used extensively for this particular project presented by Vera Balmer.
After a nice chat over a few beers with the team, I headed homewards.
I love all the seasons in Switzerland, and one of this season’s features are the hot chestnut stalls that pop up all over.
Many thanks to all at the ETH AI Center – and those from Design++ who organised the AI+AEC session – for the great event. I spent an enjoyable – and very thought-provoking – afternoon in Zurich!