all-white interior with images and text on the wall, part of Artificial Intelligence & Architecture
The online exhibition simulates the placement of items on display in the physical space it simulates. (Courtesy Pavillon de l’Arsenal)

Artificial Intelligence & Architecture at Paris’s Pavillon de l’Arsenal goes digital

The Pavillon de L’Arsenal (Arsenal Pavilion), an exhibition space dedicated to architecture and urbanism in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, is currently closed to the public to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. One of its current main exhibitions, however, seems to have been born for the internet in anticipation of the pandemic.

Artificial Intelligence and Architecture, an exhibition that “showcases for the first time the minds who have initiated a dialogue between technology and discipline,” recently premiered online with a ‘walkthrough’ of a 3D-modeled, barrel-vaulted space resembling the interior of the Pavillon de l’Arsenal. The exhibition begins with a button that reads “Visit Start,” at which visitors encounter a bilingual wall text introducing the four categories of the show: Modularity, computer-aided design (CAD), parametrics, and artificial intelligence (AI).

One can then engage the infographics detailing those four categories in a long hallway before engaging with a series of archival videos highlighting the innovations of architectural computation over a 100-year period that includes interviews with Yona Friedman, Ivan Sutherland, Frank Gehry, Patrik Schumacher, and members of the Architecture Machine Group. The exhibition ends with recently executed experiments in the development of architectural plans, elevations, structures, and perspectives using AI software.

all-white interior space with windows and skylights
The exhibition takes place in a 3D-model of the Pavilion de l’Arsenal in Paris. (Courtesy Pavillon de l’Arsenal)

The internet appears to be the ideal location for this exhibition, given the wealth of diagrams, texts, and video content on display that would be nearly impossible to absorb in a physical space. Yet, the virtual tour also becomes an effective fifth element of the exhibition, providing further proof that there is now an inseparable link between architecture and digital tools. The show offers yet another solution for gallery spaces to consider while they remain closed during stay-at-home orders that include the robot-assisted tours currently at Hastings Contemporary and the hundreds of virtual museum experiences offered by Google Arts & Culture.

Designed by Stanislas Chaillou, a recent graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and data scientist for the Oslo- and Boston-based AI technology company Spacemaker, Artificial Intelligence & Architecture will be available online until May 5.