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Adaptive buildings through evolutionary design: towards more sustainable buildings, project design process as a complex adaptive system

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Title: Adaptive buildings through evolutionary design: towards more sustainable buildings, project design process as a complex adaptive system
Author: Pagani, Freda R.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Resource Management and Environmental Studies
Copyright Date: 1999
Subject Keywords Architectural design.; Organic architecture.
Abstract: Just as natural adaptation comes from evolutionary processes that lead to 'fit' of an organism to its environment, adaptive buildings come from design processes that lead to the 'fit' of a building to its environment. A building which 'fits' its environment is considered to be sustainable. The environment is defined to encompass economic, social and ecological context. Buildings are artifacts chosen by a designer from among possible designs based on human value judgements about internal and external constraints. It is hypothesized that a project design process will result in more adaptive buildings when: first, the project team has sufficient relevant information related to the environment; second, the project team is sufficiently motivated to 'fit' the project to its environment; and third, the project team develops specific targets for resource consumption. Design process occurs at both the team level (project design process) and the individual level (design process). A model of design as a complex adaptive system is developed. The model shows creativity as a phenomenon arising from the interplay of two forces: pattern and constraint. In design, a designer transforms the 'chaos' of new and unintegrated input (change agents) into emergent pattern by integrating the input so as to be consistent with existing patterns and responsive to constraints (conservation agents). This integration results in the 'click' which designers experience during design activity. The 'click' signals boundary-breaking between the designer's internal and external (content and context) constraints and patterns. Dynamic equilibrium arises from balancing between change and conservation of input and between integration and differentiation of that input. Total equilibrium arises from combined conservation and differentiation. Further it is suggested that oscillation between integration and differentiation will result in creative breakthroughs. The model is researched in a case study of a built project, tested in a design exercise in a seminar setting with students and professionals, and discussed in an interview with a noted designer. Indicators for sustainable buildings are developed. The model provides a new description of design process and the findings indicate that its use is likely to result in more adaptive buildings as measured by indicators for sustainability.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/9904
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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