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Natasha Sandmeier talks narrative, media, and AI in architectural education with Archinect

Nov 8, 2023

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design’s Natasha Sandmeier spoke with Archinect’s Niall Patrick Walsh this past July for the series “Archinect In-Depth: Artificial Intelligence.” Considering the role and the future of representation, visualization, and artificial intelligence in architecture, Sandmeier rendered insights from throughout her career–early experiences at OMA, through her current work as executive director of LA's A+D Museum and teaching in AUD’s Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design program (MSAUD).

Sandmeier leads the MSAUD program’s Entertainment Studio, which takes interest in world-building, narrative and immersive approaches to the design of environments, and the material expression of popular cultures.

“The social and cultural impact of imagery has always been something that resonated with the Entertainment Studio and is something I also engaged with before I came to UCLA,” Sandmeier tells Walsh. “It’s incredibly easy to manipulate imagery. The line between what is truth and what is fiction is becoming incredibly blurred.”

Sandmeier and Walsh discuss the balance of potentials and pitfalls surrounding AI’s future in architecture and design. Questions of authorship and authenticity abound, as does the promise of outsourcing menial, repetitive work and thus enabling designers to refocus on deeper, more substantive work and design.

As an educator, Sandmeier observes the unique responsibility of training tomorrow’s architects in a field facing evermore rapid technological advancement. “Whenever these major technological shifts occur, we as educators always have to re-examine what we are assessing,” she observes. “What are our criteria? Are we applying criteria that were relevant in a prior age that has passed? If so, it is vital for us to develop a new set of criteria, which involves collaborating with students.”

“If architects have one skill, it is agility,” Sandmeier notes elsewhere in their conversation. “Now is a moment to capitalize on that agility.”

Check out Sandmeier’s complete interview, and learn more about her work and the work of the MSAUD program.

Related Faculty
Natasha Sandmeier
Related topics
Entertainment, Technology, Mixed Reality, Media
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