Nov 14, 2023


by Nick Ault

Categorizing Artificial Intelligence: Large Language Models, Visualization, and Data

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving technology set to influence nearly everything about our lives. Already, it is making notable impacts on architecture. At Little, we are actively leaning into this technology, leveraging AI to redefine architectural design and utilizing it to manifest the built environment in novel ways. Its integration into our processes allows the ability to shape designs to fit unique client needs, enhancing our efficiency and the customization of our design process. Instead of the architect’s role being diminished, we view this shift as a significant opportunity to improve the solutions we provide for our clients in our constant pursuit to deliver Results Beyond Architecture.

Little’s history highlights our commitment to being early adopters of technological advancements, from being one of the first firms in the region to adopt CAD and BIM technologies to launching advanced studios for digital visualization, environmental analysis, and parametric modeling. These steps marked eras of innovation and growth, enhancing our ability to serve our clients more effectively. AI is the next pivotal moment in technological advancement and can be roughly organized into three categories:  large language models (LLMs), visualization, and data. Each is already making an impact on how we pursue and execute projects.

Large Language Models

Large language models, like ChatGPT, are foundational to the development and dispersion of AI by allowing “normal” language to be used as input, unlike earlier methods that relied on complex code. These models, created through deep learning, analyze vast datasets to recognize patterns in human language, enabling them to generate coherent responses to user-provided questions or prompts.

In architecture, LLMs serve as a foundational element for tools that aid in design exploration, quick problem-solving, and the efficient analysis of complex data. They act as a bridge between technical aspects and creative processes, helping to connect computational data complexities with human nuances.

At Little, we’re at the forefront of incorporating large language models into our architectural practices, exploring their potential applications in various domains:

We’re using LLMs to evaluate research in assemblies, code, and zoning, identifying areas where we can expedite and enhance our analysis. Our early research proves that this will lead to more rapid and robust information gathering and more detailed analysis, positively impacting our projects.

By leveraging the ability of LLMs to transcribe and analyze internal meetings, we produce minutes and action items more efficiently. This ensures more thorough, accurate communication with our clients and the larger team, contributing to precise project coordination.

LLMs excel at understanding and writing code languages, a capability that benefits Little’s team dedicated to developing automation scripts and tools. Leveraging this capability boosts the efficiency of our design and production processes while contributing to the creation of more detailed and accurate projects.


Generative AI goes beyond text-based language and expands to various other mediums, including 2D imagery, audio, video, and, notably, 3D modeling. Our firm is committed to implementing this technology to create custom-tailored architectural solutions, leading us to focus on three key areas:

Conceptual Development
Implementing AI to create precedent imagery for specific applications, environments, and scales to swiftly understand our client’s vision, ensuring we are aligned from the start.

Design Development
As our designs evolve and gain detail, AI tools allow us to iterate at an unprecedented speed with rich amounts of analytical data such as lifecycle analysis, carbon analysis, and energy optimization.

Extended Reality (XR)
We are also using AI to extend beyond 2D imagery, utilizing it for the rapid development of immersive 3D environments that enable real-time modification and engaging the client in a unique, experiential design journey.


The most impactful capability afforded by Artificial Intelligence is its unparalleled prowess in data analysis. AI can sort, process, and analyze enormous volumes of data that can be used to simulate and measure the consequences of architectural moves in near real time.

As we are investigating these tools, we are closely studying their implementation in:

Dynamic Customization
Implementing intelligent software to meet individual or specific needs to create dynamic spatial environments that adapt in real time.

Intelligent Automation
Real time optimization of designs for energy or structural efficiencies, allowing us to create more sustainable, cost-effective designs.

Value Engineering
AI can give us a deeper understanding of real time market conditions, enabling quick cost-benefit analysis of value engineering propositions and enabling us to manage budgets more quickly and accurately.

Regenerative Design
Optimizing factors like operational energy efficiency, resource optimization, water management, biodiversity impacts, and embodied carbon. Encouraging a more sustainable approach to architecture, creating buildings that not only exist in harmony with their surroundings but actively contribute to their betterment.

Social Equity
Source, process, and analyze large amounts of publicly available data such as living conditions, access to services, transportation, and demographics to enable the design of places that are more socially equitable and inclusive.


AI, although still in its early stages, will be a transformative tool—both in our daily lives and within architecture. By embracing this technology early on, we believe we can enhance efficiency, minimize the environmental impact of architecture, and unleash creativity to create places and spaces that improve the livability of our cities.

But our vision extends far beyond the confines of the architectural world. We recognize that the ripple effects of AI will touch every industry, including those of our clients. As AI reshapes the business landscape, we aim to integrate AI into our designs while helping clients navigate its integration into their own operations and built environment.

As architects and designers, we believe in the power of human ingenuity, and we see AI as another tool to amplify that creativity. We invite you to join us in this journey, embracing the vast potential of AI to enrich our work, lives, and world. Together, we can shape a future built on innovation, sustainability, and collective growth.

This article was co-authored by Nick Ault, AIA, NCARB and Garrett Herbst, AIA, NCARB.

Learn more about the working world and how its culture is being redefined. Little’s recently published Beyond Workplace III book explores the possibilities, the realities, and even the impossible.


Nick Ault

Nick serves as a studio principal in our Workplace practice. With over a decade of experience spanning diverse projects, including corporate headquarters and urban developments, he leads his team with collaborative, client-centered thinking, ensuring design integrity and construction quality.

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