Evaluating Facade Designs

Digital design paradigms in architecture have been rooted in representational models which are geometry centered and therefore fail to capture building complexity holistically. Due to a lack of computational design methodologies, existing digital design workflows do little in predicting design performance in the early design stage and in most cases analysis and design optimization are done after a design is fixed. This article by Evangelos Pantazis and David Gerber proposes a new computational design methodology, intended for use in the area of conceptual design of building design. The proposed methodology is implemented into a multi-agent system design toolkit which facilitates the generation of design alternatives using stochastic algorithms and their evaluation using multiple environmental performance metrics.

The method allows the user to probabilistically explore the solution space by modeling the design parameters’ architectural design components (i.e. façade panel) into modular programming blocks (agents) which interact in a bottom-up fashion. Different problem requirements (i.e. level of daylight inside a space, openings) described into agents’ behavior allow for the coupling of data from different engineering fields (environmental design, structural design) into the a priori formation of architectural geometry. In the presented design experiment, a façade panel is modeled into an agent-based fashion and the multi-agent system toolkit is used to generate and evolve alternative façade panel configurations based on environmental parameters (daylight, energy consumption). The designer can develop the façade panel geometry, design behaviors, and performance criteria to evaluate the design alternatives. The toolkit relies on modular and functionally specific programming modules (agents), which provide a platform for façade design exploration by combining existing three-dimensional modeling and analysis software.

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