The effect of performance feedback and optimization on the conceptual design processNathan Brown and Caitlin Mueller, Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium, 2016
Many recent contributions in computational structural design have argued that design quality can be improved when performance feedback and guidance are part of the conceptual design process. However, the effect of multi-objective feedback and guidance tools has not been studied extensively. This paper presents the results of an educational study that tests the direct relationship between conceptual design tools and the simulated performance of resulting designs. In the study, students were tasked with designing a restaurant canopy roof using a series of increasingly performance-driven computational design tools. Although there was no consensus on preferred workflows or aesthetic preferences, the average designs chosen using real time feedback or directed optimization performed significantly better in terms of deflection and emissions than those chosen through free exploration. Overall, this research establishes a link between design tools and performance outcomes, while strengthening the argument for further integration of performance feedback into early stage design processes.