Design variable analysis and generation for performance-based parametric modelling in architectureNathan Brown and Caitlin Mueller, International Journal of Architectural Computing, 2018 (In press)
Many architectural designers recognize the potential of parametric models as a worthwhile approach to performance-driven design. A variety of performance simulations are now possible within computational design environments, and the framework of design space exploration allows users to generate and navigate various possibilities while considering both qualitative and quantitative feedback. At the same time, it can be difficult to formulate a parametric design space in a way that leads to compelling solutions and does not limit flexibility. This paper proposes and tests the extension of machine learning and data analysis techniques to early problem setup in order to interrogate, modify, relate, transform, and automatically generate design variables for architectural investigations. Through analysis of two case studies involving structure and daylight, this paper demonstrates initial workflows for determining variable importance, finding overall control sliders that relate directly to performance, and automatically generating meaningful variables for specific typologies.
Quantifying Diversity in Parametric Design: A Comparison of Possible MetricsNathan Brown and Caitlin Mueller, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 2018
To be useful for architects and related designers searching for creative, expressive forms, performance-based digital tools must generate a diverse range of design solutions. This gives the designer flexibility to choose from a number of high-performing designs based on aesthetic preferences or other priorities. However, there is no single established method for measuring diversity in the context of computational design, especially in the field of architecture. This paper explores different metrics for quantifying diversity in parametric design, which is an increasingly common digital approach to early-stage exploration, and tests how human users perceive these diversity measurements. It first provides a review of existing methodologies for measuring diversity and describes how they can be adapted for parametrically formulated design spaces. The paper then tests how these different metrics align with human perception of design diversity through an online visual survey. Finally, it offers a quantitative comparison between the different methods, and a discussion of their attributes and potential applications. In general, the comparison indicates that at the level of diversity difference that becomes visually meaningful to humans, the measurable difference between metrics is small. This paper informs future researchers, developers, and designers about the measurement of diversity in parametric design, and can stimulate further studies into the perception of diversity within sets of design options, as well as new design methodologies that combine architectural novelty and performance.