Methods for modeling design variants based on digital building models
Project leader: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus König, Ruhr-University Bochum
The design and planning of buildings or building complexes are often based on the needs of the building owner, the given conditions as well as on technical and financial conditions and constraints. These requirements, along with the architectural creativity, can result in the need to explore a range of variants for building designs. Also, during detailed planning there are various options for the design of the building envelope, floor plans, facility equipment or the structural system in general. Figure 1 shows an example of possible options to structure a building. Option 1 divides the site into two builing parts with two storeys each. Option 2 refers to only one building part with either two or three storeys. The upper section of Figure 1 shows the affected building elements.
In order to find a good or possibly optimal design, different design variants must be created, developed, tested and evaluated. The development and evaluation of such design options can be, however, very complex so that the creation of variants and their evaluation are usually performed only on a small scale. However, especially in early phases of design, this approach is particularly essential, since the design decisions made at this step will have a significant impact on the subsequent planning steps for the entire lifetime of the project.
Within the framework of Subproject 2, methods for modeling design variants based on digital building models are to be developed. Concepts for the formal description of variant relationships must be specified that make it possible to depict and manage different variants within a single consistent building model. The methodological approach is based on the idea that a building model should inherently contain all necessary information for all design variants (see Figure 2). Over the course of planning, a variety of design variants can thus be created that differ either at a substantial level or only in details. Taking into account various levels of development, this can result in a complex structure that needs to be formally described using mathematical concepts such as sets and relations. Depending on the level of detail and the proposed design tasks in the form of analysis and simulation models, the created design variants must be combined in a consistent manner. In particular, appropriate methods for testing the accuracy and the consistency of variant combinations need to be developed, including resolving aspects of incomplete knowledge or uncertain descriptions that arise during query operations. Validation of the developed concepts and methods will be carried out in close coordination with the other subprojects on the basis of a common reference project valid for the entire research group.