Neural 3D Synthesis
March 2023

The recent convergence in artificial intelligence of text and image processing has taken the world by storm. Text-to-image tools such as DALL-E, Midjourney, or Stable Diffusion can now generate infinite high-quality images in short inference times. These bring forward questions such as: how will generative AI affect the AEC industry?; and how will these tools be integrated into our existing workflows of 3D form generation? This workshop extends beyond the capabilities of image-based tools towards the creation, curation, and manipulation of synthetic 3D forms. We will introduce novel techniques for text-to-3D synthesis through an approach that uses diffusion models trained on billions of image-text pairs adapted to create 3D Neural Radiance Fields or NeRFs. This will be followed by a phase of geometry manipulations and interpolations across quasi-architectural forms and material-driven constraints. Through this process of form-finding, a new paradigm of blending digital media with physical reality emerges, bringing forward new material expressions and architectural hybrids. This workshop brings forward the role of agency and authorship within the creative process, especially important with the rise of lawsuits for misused intellectual property within the training datasets of these models. Our agency as architects must be asserted through a process of curation informed by professional knowledge - of datasets, models, inputs, and outputs- navigating across a feedback loop of information between human intuition and trained AI models. Students will use a hands-on approach to hybridize and create new 3D forms and prototypes from personalized architectural datasets and content. Following an introduction to ML applications architectural design, students will develop three sequential exercises related to 1) form making using neural radiance fields; 2) form remixing with customized text-to-image processes; 3) form curating of 3D architectural interventions by manipulating the first two steps. The course thus engages ways to reposition language within the design process, ultimately challenging current cultural practices of architectural production and consumption.

Project Team:

George Guida, Daniel Escobar, Carlos Navarro

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