Ennead Architects’ David Tepper on AI's Impact on the Future of the Industry and the Next Generation of Designers

Evolving client expectations, rising regulations, and AI are transforming architectural design.

June 13, 2024

In this episode of Buildings 2.0, David Tepper, Principal at Ennead Architects, explores the evolving landscape of architecture in most of the typologies he has worked in. David shares his insights on fostering public interactions in physical spaces, highlighting the contrast with the digital world. 

David also shares his insights into the challenges of retrofitting existing buildings to meet modern sustainability standards and discusses the profound impact of AI and other emerging technologies on the future of design and architectural training. 

Topics discussed:

  • The importance of creating spaces that encourage public interactions and the unique challenges this presents in modern architecture.
  • The pressing need for sustainable building practices and the challenges of retrofitting existing structures to meet new standards.
  • How AI is transforming architectural design, from automating repetitive tasks to enhancing strategic project planning.
  • There’s a focus on how insights from different building typologies, like retail and healthcare, can inform and improve each other.
  • The evolving expectations of clients, particularly the demand for proven expertise and innovative solutions in architecture projects.
  • They discuss the impact of rising regulations on the architectural profession and how firms are adapting to these new challenges.
  • The future of architectural education, emphasizing the need for training that prepares students for technological advancements and sustainability challenges.
  • Insights on the future of urban planning, particularly how cities must adapt to changing environmental and technological landscapes.

Guest Quotes: 


“As I started to get out in the world and explore a little bit, I just fell in love with being on the street, being in public places, encountering people who I don't know, potentially different from me. And architecture became for me the opportunity to kind of promote these types of interactions and to set the stage for this kind of amazing opportunity to learn about the world through strangers, effectively.” (1:20-1:58)


“We have people who specialize, and then we have people who are like the pollinators and who go from flower to flower. And that's really valuable because people can get in their own little echo chamber within a particular typology and start doing things the same way they've always been done, because that's all they know.” (6:45-7:06)


“Modernist architects 100 years ago were really convinced that they were changing the world. Well, we really are changing the world now, and it really matters. The rubber is really hitting the road. So it's a good time to be an architect if you care about. About changing the world. And we have our work cut out for us, obviously, but it's really starting to happen.” (8:39-9:03)


“We can even design an all electric hospital at this point, which wasn't really possible even just a few years ago. So we can do it with the new buildings. The real challenge, as you say, is the retrofit.” (11:07-11:22)

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