Measuring the Impact of Scale and Coupling on Solution Quality for Building Design Problems

TitleMeasuring the Impact of Scale and Coupling on Solution Quality for Building Design Problems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsFlager, F., D. Gerber, and B. Kallman
JournalDesign Studies
Volume35.2
Date Published04/2015
KeywordsCharrette, Design, parametric design
Abstract

This paper presents the results of an experiment that measured human abilities to solve parameter design problems specific to the building design domain. The subjects of the experiment were university students who solved a series of parameter design problems that varied in terms of scale (number of design variables) and coupling (interactions between variables). Results show an exponential decrease in solution quality as the scale of the problem increases. Coupling has a comparable impact on solution quality for problems involving two to three variables, but becomes less significant as the scale of the problem increases. We discuss these findings in the context of information processing models for human cognition and explore the implications for current design theories and methodologies.
Acknowledgements:
The authors wish to thank the faculty and students from the numerous courses
at Stanford and the University of Southern California who volunteered their time and energy. We also wish to thank our peers who participated in the journal’s review process for their insightful critique and thoughtful suggestions to improve the article. This research was supported by the Stanford Graduate Fellowship (SGF) program; the Center for Integrated Facility Engineering
(CIFE) at Stanford University; and in part by the University of Southern California School of Architecture faculty research fund established by Dean Qingyun Ma.

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