Generating 700 unique book covers with AI and machine learning


SUTD School of Architecture and Sustainable Design

Year 2021
  • Editorial
  • Print
  • Art Direction
  • Motion
  • Machine Learning

Forming—Unforming is a yearly compilation of exceptional work and research from the SUTD School of Architecture and Sustainable Design (SUTD ASD). Published by the office of Dean Erwin Viray and edited by Professor Yeo Kang Shua, the publication stands as a documentation of ideas and thought experiments at the school—a current snapshot of its prevailing perspectives.

With the growing presence of artificial intelligence and machine learning in both architectural discourse and SUTD ASD’s curriculum, this project presented an opportunity for us to explore the possibilities of this new medium. Working in close collaboration with ASD’s Assistant Professor Immanuel Koh, we trained a machine-learning model with the contents of the publication.

Acting as co-designer, the output was a result of the machine’s abstract understanding of the book’s content, serving as a perfect representation for 700 unique cover designs.

This process further echoes the publication’s title of Forming—Unforming. The book is first ‘unformed’ by decontextualising content, before being reinterpreted by the machine and ‘formed’ into a set of new visual outcomes. Together with the machine, these generated covers function as an objective reflection of the school’s ethos, while also questioning the role of the architect in our world today.

Practice Theory