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“Advantages of CAD/ CAM/ CAE computational systems on design exploration and development� 37-076133 Konstantinos Poulopoulos 1. Thesis Description 1.1 Hypothesis This thesis supports that Digital Computational Systems such as


CAAD (Computer Aided Architectural Design), CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing)


transform profoundly our traditional understanding of design exploration and development. They manage to do so because



they: 1.1.1 accelerate the information production rythm (infogenesis)


of design; “Fast is More� means more exploration of the problem space, more iterations and ultimately, more refined design. MOREVALUE

1.1.2 introduce the concept of “Serious Play�, which liberates


creativity and promotes innovative thinking. 4

1.1.3 support the process with Knowledge-Based Systems that help with the evaluation of innovative directions and guide the designer into the unknown. 1.1.4 make design documentation easy and quick to extract from a master 3D model; designers are liberated from the tedious and time-consuming draughting process.


1.2 Methodology


amounts of al-

1.2.1 Anatomy of the traditional Skill-and -Experience Based Design (SEBD) Process; identification of its built-in difficulties; risk assesment; 1.2.2 Computational theory; general advantages of digital computation; CAD/CAM/CAE systems in Architecture; examples of buildings 1.2.3 Design case study of a roof; Procedural design for concept definition; parametrization of model for family of solutions; CAE for geometry editing and concept design guidance; Use of master model for documentation; design evaluation with CAM: fabrication of a physical rapid prototype . 1.3 Conclusion Skill-and-Experienced Based Design (SEBD) is a deterministic, vision-driven process that is inhabited by risk; effective decision-making depends on experience and leadership. CAAD/ )4%2!4)/.3

CAM/CAE systems transform design into a playfull process of


discovery, where experience is welcome, but the critical vector is effective simulation that produces knowledge. CAAD/CAM/ CAE systems introduce a generative design process, where solutions are found and not decided.

“Advantages of CAD/ CAM/ CAE computational systems on design exploration and development” 37-076133 Konstantinos Poulopoulos 2. Anatomy of the design problem 2.1. Culture is the human nature. 2.2. Culture is the desired outcome that occurs from the transformation of the existing situation (nature). Therefore:

2.3. Nature--> Process--> Culture

(or, more abstactly)

2.4. Input--> Process--> Output


2.5. The algorithm I-->P-->O is called design. To design means I



to compute and obtain desired artifacts from existing situations. 2.6. Design is an iterative process, where an original vision of the solution is enriched at each step with more constraints, producing temporary outputs O1,O2,.... Embedding value in an output Om occurs at a tripartite analytical-genetical-synthetical engine (AGS) that manipulates given constraints, generates new information (infogenesis) and re-composes them to a higher level output Om+1. If Om+1 is not a succesful outpt, it returns to stage Om of infogenesis for re-evaluation and reprocessing. The process ends when all constraints, are eventually integrated in the final output Ov.



2.7. The success of a design project depends on : - the choice of the image IMG of solution


- the size of the library L (experience)


- the speed of the infogenetic process



- the amount of design iterations.




2.8. Experience is a matter of time. Skill is a matter of genes. 6 SATISFICINGOFCONSTRAINTSVALUE

Infogenetic speed, though, is a matter of tools. Traditional design tools, such as drawings, models, etc. are slow in the production of information, therefore, they slow down the iterations process






and can ultimately compromise the refinement of a design. In the case of the design process, “fast is more”. 2.9. Increasing the rythm of infogenesis would accelerate iterations, would allow for more case studies on a design, and could even promote innovative thinking. How is that possible?

“Advantages of CAD/ CAM/ CAE computational systems on design exploration and development� 37-076133 Konstantinos Poulopoulos 3. Case Study: the design of a roof #/'.)4)/. -%-/29

3.1. The invention of the digital computer empowers designers with memory, software and hardware which, combined with human

9 .%47/2+


cognition, tools and techniques, bring about the augmented designer, a symbiotic man/machine organism. Interconnectivity produces the


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4%#(.)15%3 3/&47!2%

integrated multidisciplinary design team. 3.2. CAAD = Computer Aided Architectural Design. CAAD does not merely help architectural representation: it is mostly a research and development tool, a vehicle of thought.

3.2.1. CAAD allows for Procedural Design, which is open, playful, and process-based. It is possible through the use of software tools, that are called operations. Operations are actions that are applied on primitive objects and constantly transform them under the commands of the designer, until they satisfice. In the example of a roof design, the original object is a simple plane 60x20m. Subsequent transformations (point editing, loft, contour, extrude) bring about a temporary design for evaluation. In procedural design, infogenesis is rapid, thanks to the computer’s performance. 3.2.2 Parametric Design : the design methodology that applies hierarchical relations of building components on the 3D model. Parametric models are explicitly defined, yet open to changes that do not contradict their fundamental hierarchy. Therefore, each model examines not a single solution, but a family of solutions, that maintain the same hierarchical structure. Moreover, the design process is recorded and the steps that designers take, are easily revisited and edited. Finally, project documentation (3D geometry, 2D drawings, sections, perspectives) is simply extracted, thus interpreting design as a research activity rather than a tedious draughting task. 3.3 In the roof case study, Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) provides understanding, through Finite Elements Analysis, on the direction of the concept design. Starting with the optimum geometry in the early stages significantly helps cost reduction later, during the fabrication process.




“Advantages of CAD/ CAM/ CAE computational systems on design exploration and development” 37-076133 Konstantinos Poulopoulos

3.4 Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) assists in the production of building components of products, from microchips to skyscrapers. Digital Manufacturing is based on the interconnection of a Master 3D Geometry model and Numerically Controlled cutting hardware. CAM is also very useful during design phase for Rapid Prototyping; RP helps engineers evaluate designs in many aspects, such as aerodynamic performance, visual impact,etc. In the case study scenario, CAM is used for the production of a Rapid Prototype for form evaluation; the model is produced by laser-cutting a flat sheet of MDF and manually interlocking the parts in a puzzle-like fashion.

4. Conclusion 4.1 CAD/CAM/CAE systems accelerate the design process by increasing the speed of infogenesis. This is done by using Procedural Design, Parametric Design, Digital Engineering and Rapid Prototyping. 4.2 The infogenetic speed liberates the designers from the burden of production. Therefore, design time can be invested in exploration. Exploration, or “serious play”, increases the chance for innovation. 4.3 CAD/CAM/CAE help architects formalize design knowledge; design knowledge does not reside within the designer’s brain neurons, but is captured, organized and distributed through digital systems, increasing the organization’s competitiveness. 4.4 Digital tools in architecture introduce a new culture of design and production. They transform design from being vision-based and risk-inhabited to a playful process of discovery guided by simulation, that produces knowledge seprately on each design. Like in Nature, designs are allowed to live and evolve (in a virtual environment) up to their limits; successful designs emerge without deterministic predispositions. Such biological, generative practice reminds us that culture is, in fact, nature.

My thesis resume.  

Short version of my thesis, 2009 U.Tokyo.