Design heuristics : facilitating architectural thought
Author(s)Christodoulides, Marios Andreas
William Porter, George Stiny.
MetadataShow full item record
As D A Schon describes the problem space is not given with the presentation of the design task, but constructed by the designer as he/she invents the moves by which he/she attempts to find solutions. From such a design process two episodes emerge, the first one comprised of all the moves a designer makes to construct and organize a problem space, and the second one describing how a designer might navigate through such a problem space in his/her attempt to arrive at solutions. It is the methods which designers use in these episodes which I define as 'design heuristics'. These can facilitate the early stages of the design process in several ways. First they can help set up a platform upon which designers can begin to operate, and which can become the catalyst for further development and refinement to occur. Secondly, they help introduce into the problem space any concerns the designer chooses to address, whether those emerge from site, climate, or other potential factors. These help to complement programmatic concerns, set up hierarchies, and subsequently help the designer determine the important aspects of the problem he/she is attempting to address. Thirdly, the introduction of different 'design heuristics' in both episodes of the design process helps to limit the range of possible solutions, and therefore eliminate the need for exhaustive search. In this thesis an iterative process of investigation is carried out in order to gain a better understanding into the nature of different 'design heuristics' and examine the potential for the development of a tool that can facilitate their implementation. Different categories of rules are introduced in an attempt to create an environment where deSign operations, independent of particular design problems, can be identified. Rules such as the grid, line, and boundary are implemented to investigate concepts of alignment, articulation, and envelope respectively. A random generator is used upon which these rules are superimposed, allowing for a better understanding of the potential and limitations of single rules, or combinations of them. The careful evaluation of a series of experimental products gave rise to a series of concepts that could be critical in the development of an appropriate tool offering more insight as to how one should proceed next. Introducing 'flexibility' for each one of these rules allowed for the development of hierarchies of importance among the different heuristics a deSigner might choose to apply. 'Directional constraints' for each of the rules emerged as critical allowing the development of different variants from each one of the rules described above. The grid for example could have different constrains in anyone of its three axis. The 'sequence' by which these rules are applied emerged as important in the articulation of each one of these rules. The rule applied first would have to compromise the most following the application of subsequent rules. The careful study of products utilizing different variations of such concepts gave better insight as to how these concepts might be further developed and also allowed for new ones to emerge. Furthermore an attempt is made to address both episodes described above by defining a stage of 'generation' followed by a stage of 'post-generation control'. A collection of such concepts can begin to clarify some of the operations that are part of the design activity, setting up the ground for the development of a design tool that facilitates the application of heuristics in the early stages of the design process.
Thesis (M.S.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1997.Includes bibliographical references (p. 48).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology