Rethinking innovation in computational design : a theoretical framework for innovative strategies to enhance the efficiency of the ‘digital’ in architectural design

Haidar, A 2019, Rethinking innovation in computational design : a theoretical framework for innovative strategies to enhance the efficiency of the ‘digital’ in architectural design , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Between the potential for ‘digital’ in architectural design that is demonstrated in a minority of architectural practices, and its marginalisation in the remaining majority, there is a need to enhance the efficiency of ‘digital’ in architectural design. The vast array of digital technologies alongside the rapid evolution of these technologies show the dynamism of the situation that requires the simultaneous and continuous re-evaluation of design theory and the continuous development of innovative design strategies in practice. Therefore, the research aims to develop a theoretical framework that will underpin the development of innovative strategies in practice and will act as a roadmap for future research towards producing a mature and comprehensible theory for computational design. In order to achieve this aim, a critical review of the literature is conducted where the potential of computational design methods is explored, the centrality of parametric design is examined and recent phenomena in computational design are classified and explained. Subsequently, a case study strategy is adopted to investigate the practical context of those phenomena. This explores the digital technologies utilised, the computational design methods applied and the factors that restrict efficient use of those technologies and methods within different practical contexts and real-life design processes and project scenarios. In order to ensure reliability and a multi-perspective investigation, the firms included as case studies are varied in terms of the location, discipline, and advancement of digital technologies. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews with architects who had a high level of experience and knowledge in computational design and hold leading positions at their firms. The data is analysed based on the computational design phenomena in order to establish new links between architectural design practice and its related theory. Based on these established links, the research concludes with a theoretical framework that identifies the criteria for selecting the right digital tool for the right purpose, and the real contexts in which those digital tools can be adapted including the purpose of this adaption. The framework also identifies different approaches for the development of experience and knowledge in practice, the problems within integrated work caused by the contradiction in mindsets and the imbalance in experience and knowledge, the permanence and temporality of the emergent roles, the levels of collaboration in architectural practice, and the potential of data in architectural design. In addition, the framework identifies aspects of complexity in architectural design and the relationship among those aspects whilst identifying the absorption forces of complexity in architectural design. Furthermore, the framework investigates the impact of the ‘digital’ on design creativity and identifies different types and purposes of practice-based research. The framework demonstrates the centrality of parametric design in developing innovative strategies by showing its potential in supporting collaborative and integrated work, driving data across different platforms and design stages, adapting tools, and supporting design creativity. In addition, a new understanding for sustainability is revealed by introducing the terms ‘sustainable processes’ and ‘recycling processes’ and investigating the role of parametric design in supporting this type of process, and its appropriateness in enabling the implementation of the ‘building seed’ concept. The research also introduces the ‘Wiki Seed Library’ as an innovative design strategy and uses the theoretical framework to evaluate its potential impact. Finally, the research provides a series of recommendations for architects in practice that offer different views, ideas and inspiration to enhancing the efficiency of the ‘digital’ in architectural design.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Funders: University of Salford
Depositing User: A Haidar
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2019 12:10
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:32

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