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Developing design requirements specification or an architectural program for a recurring building type offers unique opportunities for the programming phase in design. Recurring building types are repeated in different contexts, yet their general functional aspects do not change.
However, current practice makes only limited use of these opportunities. The use of passive programming media and manual methods together with non-standardized
representation formats create problems with continuity, with upgrading programming knowledge, and with handling complex design requirements. Computer-based tools are generally limited to simple database or spread-sheet applications. Only few of these tools provide some generative mechanisms for formulating design problems separate from solution generation.
I believe that computer-assisted generative tools can assist programmers in partially alleviating the bottlenecks mentioned above and reduce the cognitive loads posed by using traditional manual techniques for handling complex programming information. Based on case studies and an extensive literature survey, I developed a general and flexible framework that models architectural programming knowledge as a generalized (extended) means-ends analysis; it can be made operational in the form of a computer-based support tool that can be adapted by users to any building type and is particularly suited to support programming recurring building types.
RaBBiT is a first prototype application. It is distinguished by the following features: (a) the ability to computationally capture reusable programming knowledge based on a set of concepts that are general enough to accommodate various programming styles while remaining operational; (b) simplification of the designer-computer interaction to make the application usable, even programmable to a degree, for non-computer programmers; and c) the ability to generate design requirements as output that can be used by other generative design and decision support tools. The first prototype consists of an objectoriented application that is highly integrated with a direct-manipulation user interface.