Technology has left nothing untouched for the past few decades. With the invention of artificial intelligence and algorithms, it is surpassing every comprehensible human realm and architecture is no exception. The generative architecture combines parametric design and AI together to generate every possible permutation of a design solution. 

Designers enter a set of parameters like materials, manufacturing methods, and construction cost and choose the option best suited to the requirements. It certainly helps to mitigate human errors and sketch constraints and increases creativity by exploring numerous design possibilities.

The technology’s growing influence and unending capabilities to get smarter with time coerce architects to pull up their socks and dive into this uncharted field of possibilities that are to shape the built environment of the coming future.

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Generative design for architecture workflow ©

Let’s take a look at some books to know and learn more about generative architecture.

1. Computational Design by Neil Leach and Philip F Yuan

The way architects design buildings today has changed considerably with time, led mainly by technological revolutions. This book addresses an important question: How are computational techniques changing the ways in which architects are designing buildings today? It starts with an introduction containing a brief history of computational design and is divided into different sections focusing on manifestos, methodologies, and projects on parametric and algorithmic design. 

The other related subjects which the book also deals with are swarm intelligence, artificial intelligence, machine learning, interactive design, video gaming, building information modeling, geographic information systems, remote sensing, and data visualization.

It also offers a range of informed opinions on the subject, written by some of the leading authorities in the world.

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Computational Design_ ©

2. The Alphabet and Algorithm by Mario Carpo

The book is an excellent introduction to the conceptual changes brought by the digital revolution to architecture. The author investigates certain aspects that have marked the history of architecture to understand with more precision how architecture has attuned itself to the technological developments and cultural rhetorics of the times. 

The book is a must-read to get a complete grasp of all that has happened and become aware of the changes in the architecture field, and understand where we have come from and where we are going.

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The Alphabet and Algorithm _ ©

3. Parametric design for Architecture by Wassim Jabi

This serves as a perfect book, as the writer himself calls for “advance beginners”. It is intended for anyone who wants to explore and gain skills and knowledge of various parametric techniques and computational algorithms. Through step-by-step guidance, it explicitly moves from introduction to detailed parametric patterns and source code and lastly gives future directions.

However, “The book focuses on three software systems Autodesk, 3ds Max, MAXScript, open-source Java-based scripting environments (Processing), and a brand-new language specifically tailored for parametric and generative design (Autodesk DesignScript)”.


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Parametric Design for Architecture ©

4. Computation Design Thinking by Achim Menges and Sean Ahlquist

To align oneself with the rapid advancements of technology, one not only has to learn the new methods but has to profoundly shift the design thinking. The book establishes the foundation for such thinking and reflects and speculates the design possibilities arising from the computation. 

This book through a collection of the seminal text lays down the foundation for the seed of critical computational thinking to grow and to be pursued and practiced. It essentially tries to ingrain computation as part of the design process, not only a collection of specific tools but a way of thinking about design.

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Computational Design Thinking ©

5. CODIFY: Parametric and Computational Design in Landscape Architecture by Bradley Cantrell, and Adam Mekies

Here is a book for all landscape designers trying to dwell in the world of parametric and computational designing. It contains a wide range of contributors like landscape architecture profession, academia, and technology firms who provide essays and interviews providing information about coding and its relationship to landscape architecture including history, theory, definitions, and practice.

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Codify: Parametric and Computational Design in Landscape Architecture ©

6. LabStudio: Design Research between Architecture and Biology by Jenny E. Sabin , Peter Lloyd Jones

The book introduces us to a unique concept of LabStudio, which is a research-based laboratory offering radical new insights on spatial biology and generative design, and fabrication within architecture. With the medium of the book, they have let us into their exercises and presented readers with hundreds of prototypes, illustrated in the form of hundreds of images presenting new, technological driven methods that can be adopted for better results.

The book successfully gives a big nudge to its readers to produce a new and unconventional mode of thinking, working, and creating designs taking advantage of the modern tools provided by technology.

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LabStudio: Design Research between Architecture and Biology ©

7. Digital and Parametric Architecture: Evolvo 6 by Carlo Aiello

The book is a one-stop location to go on a journey of the latest projects which are digitally designed and fabricated during the second decade of the twenty-first century.

The book through a wide range of fascinating projects explores the development of architectural digital tools like advanced modeling software and computer-aided designs in design formations. 

The book not just analyses the latest projects but also helps us observe our built environment with a glimpse of what the future holds.

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Digital and Parametric Architecture: Evolvo 6 ©

8. Biomimicry in Architecture by Michael Pawlyn 

Michael Pawlyn is an architect and a pioneer of biomimicry. He has been the principal architect of projects like The Eden Project and The Sahara Forest Project. In 2007 he established Exploration Architecture to develop work that combines biology, design, and environment and also widely lectures on innovation and environmental sustainability.

A need for a sustainable and restorative future in the true sense has never been more than at present. Biomimicry is a term that signifies innovation inspired by nature. It respects and looks close to over 3.5-billion-year-old nature’s example of innumerable forms and systems and applies it to modern green buildings by rethinking all sorts of building types and developing solutions that use resources much more efficiently.

This book becomes a must-read to understand how computational design tools allow architects to mimic the natural world and use technology and research to build a better world.

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Biomimicry in Architecture ©

9. Toward a Living Architecture? Complexism and Biology in Generative Design by Christina Cogdell

Through the book, the author has tried to bring forth the reality of high tech and revolutionary generative design NOT being environmentally friendly in contrast to what is claimed by today’s designers. She brought this out by her critical evaluation and phenomenal research conducted in various architectural studios and biological labs.

Her questions and critique on the current practicing notion of generative design make it a must-read to avoid and understand the reasons for misleading guidance on sustainability and biology in generative design.

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Toward a Living Architecture? Complexism and Biology in Generative Design ©

10. The Robotic Touch. How Robots Change Architecture by Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler, and Jan Willmann

Material and data are no longer treated as different variants in building construction but are infused together to form an expression of modern digital architecture. This has been marked with another astounding development with the use of robots in the building process.

The book features thirty research projects on robots in architecture originating at ETH Zurich, documenting various methods and concepts relating to the use of robots in architecture. 

The growing use of robots has been well-researched and documented to explore the implication of its use on designs and hence a must-read to peek into the inescapable window of the future.

The Robotic Touch. How Robots Change ©


Wikipedia Contributors (2019). Generative design. [online] Wikipedia. Available at:

ArchDaily. (2020). How Will Generative Design Impact Architecture? [online] Available at:

Follett, J. (2020). AI, Architecture, and Generative Design. [online] Medium. Available at: 

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Trupti Agrawal is an architect by profession, an artist from the heart. She is an ardent reader and a believer in the power of art, being a great tool in uplifting human consciousness. She strives to tap into intangible aspects of human psychology through her art, which makes her a keen learner and an earnest listener, and a deep observer.