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This paper concerns the computer generation of various spatial layouts using a set of rules defined by a certain design style. It discusses how software can be developed from a style and how it can serve in the architectural design process as a computational design tool.
To describe design style, a design is sometimes analyzed with the common features of the design and the way the visual components are combined. From this information, we can understand and learn how the design is developed, and how to apply the style to a new design. With the advancement of computer technology, a design style is studied in the form of computer algorithms. We can develop or improve a computational design tool, which allows the designer to learn the style or develop a new design by modifying the style in various ways.
Computational design augments the traditional concept of shape generation in a computer. Besides generating execution drawings in the final design phase, computers have increasingly been utilized to investigate spatial layouts and building forms in the schematic design process. Beyond simply using a computer, some designers recognize how computer algorithms work to generate shapes or forms and as a result, have incorporated the algorithms into their designs. However there is a need to develop a computational design tool with which designers can understand shape generation rules and their usage within their design.
Our attempt is to define a certain style using a set of rules, develop the rules into a computational design tool, which will then be used to create other designs. Prototype software, called ArchiDNA, was created as the focus for this paper. There are two phases in creating the software: first develop a system to define a certain style with a set of rules, and then improve the system to comprehensively support the design process.
The initial ArchiDNA developed a set of rules to follow Peter Eisenman¡¯s style. The rules were abstracted from his drawing for the Biocentrum project and implemented as a shape generative system using four common features, the components of the DNA structure (Adenine, Guanine, Cyanine, and Thymine) and the architectonic principle to imitate the DNA replication process (one shape as the base-shape, remains fixed while another shape as applier-shape is attached to its edges). In the ArchiDNA, designers can use any shape as applier-shape by simply selecting the shape and then applying it to the base-shape, so that the computer can generate the applier-shape¡¯s duplicates and attach them to the edge of the base-shape.
Subsequently, the initial ArchiDNA was advanced with an interface to be "end-user-programmable"; that is, instead of using hand-built and hard-wired rules, the system allows users to program their own rules and shapes. Users can carry out the exploration of the rules and have the system generate consistent spatial layouts for their own design. Consequently, the spatial layout incorporates the designer¡¯s preference with the power of computation to generate a set of consistent shapes.