Design variable analysis and generation for performance-based parametric modeling in architecture

Nathan C. Brown, Caitlin T. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Many architectural designers recognize the potential of parametric models as a worthwhile approach to performance-driven design. A variety of performance simulations are now possible within computational design environments, and the framework of design space exploration allows users to generate and navigate various possibilities while considering both qualitative and quantitative feedback. At the same time, it can be difficult to formulate a parametric design space in a way that leads to compelling solutions and does not limit flexibility. This article proposes and tests the extension of machine learning and data analysis techniques to early problem setup in order to interrogate, modify, relate, transform, and automatically generate design variables for architectural investigations. Through analysis of two case studies involving structure and daylight, this article demonstrates initial workflows for determining variable importance, finding overall control sliders that relate directly to performance and automatically generating meaningful variables for specific typologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-52
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Architectural Computing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Building and Construction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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