Human skills beat AI

To level up their practice of architecture, architects can bow to AI overlords or upgrade their human skills.

Media feeds filled with images and text of indeterminate origin.

People becoming alert and alarmed at the potential of AI.

Preoccupied with the value AI might bring, the risks to our work or questioning what it means to do our work.

The AI overlords cometh.

The possibility of AI

There’s no doubt about the value of AI. It’s capable of undertaking the more tedious and/or time consuming work better and faster than we ever could. At a basic level it’s already delivering social media posts, brainstorming ideas, summarising and researching, tidying digital images, and so on.

It’s also likely that it will take over much of the iterative design work for architects. Allowing architects to use their skills and experience to identify the worthwhile prospects, without having to spend time thinking them up and drawing.

AI makes more possible.

Human not AI

AI frees up time for architects to do the important work. Work that can’t be done by AI. Thinking critically, making creative leaps and working with humans.

AI won’t replace humans.

Developing our relationships to our people, work and practice cannot be done by AI. They’re the parts of our practice that cannot be measured, reduced to an algorithm and executed by a machine.

The things of human skills

Skills like leadership, communication, empathy, building trust, listening, decision making, managing time and so on. Skills essential for working with people such as staff or co-workers, clients, consultants, consent authorities, builders, community, and so on. Skills helping develop a better relationship with your work and practice, by helping you rethink how and what you’re doing, thus working better and with more thoughtful intention. It’s a significant part of an architect’s work.

AI presents an opportunity for architects to pivot from developing their technical skills to using the time that’s been freed up to improve their human skills. Up-skilling to elevate their practice of architecture.

The most challenging parts of practice typically aggregate around the messiness of being human. When AI simplifies or alleviates other challenges, it’s the architects and practices showing leadership, who listen, communicate better and develop great cultures, who will stand out. Architects and practices like this will level up.

It’s not zero sum

Human skills don’t beat AI, they compliment it. If AI threatens your practice of architecture, think about how you might embrace AI (less so bow down to it) and focus on what you control and can improve. Upgrade your human skills and upgrade your practice of architecture.


If you’d like help with upgrading your human skills I coach and run workshops in exactly that. Check out the details on the Services pages, or book in for a Free 30 Minute Chat.


Image by lalesh aldarwish [cropped]

Hi! I’m Michael

I’m an architect and coach, helping the professional culture of the architecture profession. I believe the best way to do this is support leadership development.

I’ve worked in architecture for almost 30 years, and ran my own practice for 14 years. I understand architectural practice from the inside out. Fun Fact: my NSW architect’s registration is #10 007 and I have a license to skill.

I help practices work on their leadership team and strategies. Supporting practices to become more open, fluid, and adaptable. Realising the collective energy, passion, and capabilities of their people.

Interested in hearing I can help? Let’s chat about the leadership development of you or your team.
Book a Call

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