a  c  a  d  e  m  i  c
C o n s t r u c t i n g   D e s i g n   C o n c e p t s :   A Computational Approach to the Synthesis of Architectural Form
Kotsopoulos S, Ph.D. Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005

A b s t r a c t

Design can be studied as an act of human imagination, but also, as a process of spatial calculation. In this study, I  approach design as calculation, and I examine  the nature of the hypotheses and concepts designers adopt in the studio, in producing designs from scratch. Through discussion (theory), and examples (praxis), I show that computation can undertake conceptual and execution studio tasks.

    A “design concept” is a makeshift  that participates in a "design hypothesis" and points to a general direction of exploration. Architects explore their hypotheses through testing. They invent courses of action (processes) and they test the results. Effective actions are deemed those that produce results with desired properties. Effective processes can be retrospectively organized into systems (algorithms, grammars, computer programs, or scripts), for future use.

    A "design" is described by finite number of interrelated descriptions that are finite in themselves. Each plan, section, or elevation is produced from the coordination of several other plans, sections, or elevations, which evolve in parallel.
It is also shaped from the interaction of multiple “partial” descriptions. A stack of trace paper sheets including various studies for a building-plan may serve as a good example. The content of the sheets becomes meaningful only when they are placed one over the top of the other. The order is insignificant. But, the superimposition allows these disordered products of one's thought to mingle, to create affinities, and "to construct" the plan.

Supervisors: Terry Knight , George Stiny