ITcon Vol. 11, pg. 395-408,

Describing the changes in architectural information technology to understand design complexity and free-form architectural expression

submitted:January 2006
revised:February 2006
published:June 2006
editor(s):Howard R
authors:Hannu Penttilä, architect SAFA
Helsinki University of Technology HUT, Department of Architecture, Finland
summary:The key question arising in this paper, is how our currently ubiquitous and pervasive information and communication technologies (ICT) has throughout the years managed architectural design information and how has that affected architectural design, in which building geometry has mainly been studied. The evolution of computer-aided design (CAD) is used as the \"backbone\" for the assumptions made. The focus area of this paper is CAD and more widely digital ICT within the architecture, engineering and construction field (AEC), its development and available computer-aided design tools throughout the last 30 - 40 years. Architectural design is discussed in this paper from the viewpoint of complex design and construction projects and therefore the more complex information structures used in contemporary design and construction. Complexity has also resulted in a more complex, curved and \"free\" architectural building geometry, which has been enabled by modern CAD-tools. The main conclusion is, that information and communication technology has indeed enabled us to manage more complex building projects better and more comprehensively than earlier, and also more complex architectural expression can therefore be used in contemporary construction. Building product modelling (building information modelling, BIM) has been proposed to be a suitable method to manage all design and construction issues within current IT-oriented building projects and process environments. Product modelling is seen as a natural step in the evolution of ICT. Building product modelling is regarded in this paper to be a promising method to increase our ability to manage some more vague building and design criteria, such as design richness or even overall building quality. This paper is related to the authors' post-graduate studies on architectural design, environment changes and building product modelling in Helsinki University of Technology.
keywords:architecture, representation, CAD, complexity, product modelling, information modelling.
full text: (PDF file, 0.858 MB)
citation:Penttilä H (2006). Describing the changes in architectural information technology to understand design complexity and free-form architectural expression, ITcon Vol. 11, Special issue The Effects of CAD on Building Form and Design Quality, pg. 395-408,