February 28, 2017

How Architizer Uses Image Recognition to Unlock the Potential of User-Generated Content

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Architizer is a revolutionary marketplace that connects architects with the building products they need. With over 1.5 million visits a month, Architizer is the world’s premier marketplace for finding, pricing, and specifying building products. Architizer makes the process of connecting with top architecture firms easier than ever by matching manufacturers to live project opportunities and helping to get their products and materials in world-renowned projects. The company has already brought over $3.5 billion worth of construction projects this year. Sourcing products starts with finding visual precedents and that’s where Clarifai comes in.



Peter Gerber, Chief Product Officer

Peter is the Chief Product Officer @architizer. He is a design-focused technologist who is passionate about platforms and products that service the creative industry. He has over 15 years experience working with the world’s most innovative companies in design, technology, film, marketing, and creative direction.


How do you better connect buyers and sellers in an online marketplace?
Architizer is an online platform that connects architects working on commercial-scale buildings with the manufacturers they need. Architizer’s platform has over 1.8 million images that users rely on to make purchasing decisions and get inspiration for their architecture projects. Every month notable architecture firms add over 30,000 new images of recently completed residential, commercial and institutional buildings.

With user-generated content playing a large role in helping buyers connect with sellers on their platform, Architizer needed a solution that would provide a highly scalable system for exploring user-generated content and images to increase user engagement and boost conversions in their online marketplace.


“With image recognition seeing is believing; we’ve benchmarked every service out there and we believe in Clarifai.” – Peter Gerber, Chief Product Officer of Architizer



Architizer used Clarifai to surface highly relevant related content to users based on image similarity, thus retaining users longer and facilitating architects in their sourcing process.

In the Architizer ecosystem, buyers are typically architecture firms and sellers are building materials manufacturers. Buyers, or architects, on the platform rely on user-generated content and images of architecture materials for purchasing decisions and design inspiration. Because architecture is such a visual and design-driven medium, surfacing content based on images is the best way to serve relevant recommendations to users.

In order to recommend relevant image-based content to its buyers, Architizer used Clarifai’s Custom Training and Visual Search products to detect patterns and visual similarities in a wide array of architecture-related photos and make content more discoverable on their platform.


Automatically “see” and understand images
Using Clarifai’s Custom Training product, Architizer was able to create a custom image recognition model to understand architecture-related features like “facade system,” “cantilever,” “Brutalist,” and “living wall.” These custom concepts allowed Architizer to personalize their image recognition solution and categorize their images in a way that was most relevant to their business, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all general visual recognition model.


“The custom training was the deal clincher, but overall, Clarifai’s level of communication and insight has been hugely helpful to our initiative.”

Connect buyers with sellers at the right time
With Clarifai’s Visual Search product, Architizer built a truly relevant content visual recognition recommendation experience around their custom visual recognition model. Architizer was able to automatically understand 1.5 million user-uploaded images on their platform and use that information to surface visually similar content to users. This content helped connect architects with materials they felt inspired by or might want to buy.


“Clarifai allowed us to find new ways to explore the world of architecture.”

Quick and easy implementation
Architizer’s Chief Product Officer, Peter Gerber, tested visual recognition APIs like Imagga, Google Cloud Vision, and IBM Watson before deciding that Clarifai offered the best possible solution for his business. He selected Clarifai based on its superior accuracy and customer support, as well as Clarifai’s Custom Training product that enabled him to easily create custom visual recognition models using a handful of data examples for each new concept. With a product team of 12, Peter plans to launch Architizer’s innovative initiative and go from concept to production rollout in eight weeks.

“We’ve been evaluating image recognition and learning for 3 years now. The Clarifai team and product were always on the leading edge and, with the release of their custom training and similar image API, are now our solution of choice.”

DIY with Clarifai
Now that you’ve been inspired by Architizer’s user-generated content solution, it’s time to build your own. Clarifai’s core model includes tags for over 11,000 concepts you can apply to your business. Or, you can use Clarifai’s Custom Training solution to teach our AI new concepts. All it takes is three simple lines of code – sign up for a developer API account to get started for free!