Greg Tate, an Architect with 30+ years in the design and construction industry, spent his youth building model cars, mini-bikes and go-karts in Southern California during the 70s. That provided endless inspiration for making things. He later studied architecture at California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, a few years after Frank Gehry had finished his iconic house in Santa Monica. Field trips during this time to Gehry construction sites would also influence his thinking.
These influences carried over after graduation. Tate built furniture and lighting from parts and pieces found on construction sites – rebar, ductwork, air cleaners, metal screens, conduit and concrete. He sought out playful and unusual juxtapositions of unrelated parts to highlight their differences. This work was as much surrealism as functional art. Interested in people’s reactions, Tate ultimately wanted to leave the viewer with a smile.
In the same spirit of his furniture and lighting, and with the full spectrum of an architectural career, he is now able to test larger architectural ideas and concepts with the same playful arrangements. And with the help of Midjourney, he can roll through concepts without the intense and cumbersome modeling effort required to render the same kind of images without AI.
The beaches, deserts, suburbs, housing, freeways, riverbeds, infrastructure, amusement parks, low brow art, and all manner of oddities in and around Los Angeles are his inspiration now. Tate uses AI as an extension of the creative process. A way to explore ideas, a digital sketchbook of sorts, where he tries to combine all manner of objects and programs into hybrid structures on the verge of impossible. The images walk a fine line between reality and fiction where the architecture is the protagonist and the antagonist; sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes not so much.
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Watching images emerge, prompt tweaking and heavy curation while trying to maintain control over the initial idea is part of the fun. Tate may go through hundreds of images for one idea. Greg Tate searches for surprises falling down rabbit holes, looking for never-before-seen buildings and landscapes. Inevitably, new ideas emerge and morph into different and unexpected directions.
Tate wants to make clear the images in no way pretend to be built or cheat the effort that it takes to design and produce a physical work of architecture. These are only text-to-image applications and not text-to-architecture… yet. These supplemental images can augment the design process in interesting and surprising ways and that’s the fascinating part.
Greg also credits trial and error and PAACADEMY workshops and instructors for prompt craft and workflows that guide his process, allowing bolder ideas to take shape. Instagram’s AI community of architects, educators, and designers are incredibly supportive and make it a fun and collaborative environment to experiment and learn from each other. You can access Greg’s other AI works via his Instagram.