The most difficult problems in architecture occur on the boundaries between different disciplines where solutions to problems in one domain create problems in others. These interdomain problems are also amongst the most difficult to train designers to deal with since no one understands properly the dynamics of the interactions. Currently, computers are widely used in the later stages of managing construction production information, but tend only to be of limited use early on for design decision support.
The Intelligent Architecture project aims to bring forward the use of computing to the earliest stages of design when the most critical strategic decisions are taken that affect the resolution of interdomain problems. By using three dimensional object based representations of the design, linked to a range of analyses using ‘intelligent’ techniques (Neural nets, Genetic Algorithms, Fuzzy Logic) and OLE/DDE/AppleEvents communications to allow the program to draw on external applications and databases, the project provides simultaneous visualisations of the functional outcome of a proposed design from a range of points of view at once. Predictions are made, for instance, of energy use, construction cost and likely communications patterns between workers, and then presented to the designer in graphical or simple numeric form. This enables him to optimise the design from a number of points of view at once at the same time as getting a full, real time, interactive visualisation of what the building will look like.
The system is implemented on Mac and PC level hardware to ensure that it arrives on the decision taker’s desk, using the latest ‘games’ software real time renderers to make interactive 3-d modelling and navigation intuitive enough for them to master. Our experience of these kinds of analytic tools in design suggests that one of the most useful aspects of the program will be in training designers to become intuitive about the way the different domains interact and we believe that the links to interactive 3-d representations will allow a closer link between intuition, experience and analysis in design. Early prototypes of the software are currenly under test.
KeywordsArchitectural Design Design Team Hill Climbing Space Syntax Rule Base Expert System
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