Thinking Topologically at Early Stage Parametric Design

  • John Harding
  • Sam Joyce
  • Paul Shepherd
  • Chris Williams


Parametric modelling tools have allowed architects and engineers to explore complex geometries with relative ease at the early stage of the design process. Building designs are commonly created by authoring a visual graph representation that generates building geometry in model space. Once a graph is constructed, design exploration can occur by adjusting metric sliders either manually or automatically using optimization algorithms in combination with multi-objective performance criteria. In addition, qualitative aspects such as visual and social concerns may be included in the search process. The authors propose that whilst this way of working has many benefits if the building type is already known, the inflexibility of the graph representation and its top-down method of generation are not well suited to the conceptual design stage where the search space is large and constraints and objectives are often poorly defined. In response, this paper suggests possible ways of liberating parametric modelling tools by allowing changes in the graph topology to occur as well as the metric parameters during building design and optimisation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Harding
    • 1
  • Sam Joyce
    • 2
  • Paul Shepherd
    • 2
  • Chris Williams
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Bath & RambollUK
  2. 2.University of BathUK

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