Aug 26, 2023 - Economy

How AI could make architecture more efficient

Carlo Ratti pavilion

Photo: Reed Photographic

A small pavilion at the Digital Futures exhibition in Shanghai could give a hint as to how AI will make architecture more efficient.

How it works: It's made of cross-laminated timber (CLT), an increasingly popular building material that often substitutes for carbon-intensive concrete, especially in prefabricated buildings.

  • Conventional CLT is made by gluing layers of solid-sawn lumber boards perpendicular to each other, creating a material that's extremely strong.
  • Creating perfectly rectangular boards, however, creates a lot of wood waste.

By using AI to scan logs before they're sawn, startup Maestro Technologies has found a way to tessellate wobbly boards so they fit together perfectly in every layer of the CLT.

  • "The irregular geometry celebrates the original shape of the tree," says architect and Maestro founder Carlo Ratti. "We are using the artificial to bring out the brilliance of the natural."
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