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Architectural massing is the primary sub-set of the early stages of built form creation. In this empirical study, we seek a better understanding of the specific cognitive processes contributing to massing. We found that these processes help the designer improve the management of the overall design process through strategies that facilitate a discourse between designer and her graphic representations. These strategies, which rely on the use of regulating elements, include management of part–whole relationships, design hierarchy, topology–geometry relationships, scaffolding the design process, structuring ill-structured problems, and the restructuring of problem parameters.