This paper focuses on the potential for developing an interactive Virtual Reality (VR) environment that exploits new concepts such as parametric design and genetic algorithm as methods of computational architecture through the conceptual design process. Existing tools and decision support mechanisms are investigated as part of this process. The proposed system introduces the potential of combining different concepts under the chamber of a single VR environment. Influential factors in this area are: form generation, change management, conceptual design illustration, and collaboration throughout the whole design process. First part of this paper introduces the basics of conceptual design, then critically reviews design thinking parallel with the design process; thereafter provides a roadmap for conceptual design and computational support, with a specific focus on the early conceptual design stage (including computational methods for sketching and collaboration throughout conceptual design). Extant literature on the characteristics of collaborative behaviour within the initial conceptual architectural design processes performed through virtual environments are examined. Extant literature highlights the importance of computational design in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. However, there is a significant knowledge gap in literature concerning the veracity of findings to date which explicitly identify the congruent links and support mechanisms needed to overtly exploit the opportunities presented with new computational design methods. This research is the first of the kind to purposefully endeavour to uncover new insight and understanding into virtual generative workspaces, especially though new social interactions and decision-making criteria. Research findings to date have identified new insight into how AEC designers think during the early conceptual design stages. These issues are used to satiate the pivotal drivers, priorities, and critical success factors needed for effective operationalisation through a conceptual design support tool and possible future directions within computational design strategy. The outcomes and intervention of this research will be used to develop a `proof of concept' prototype to reveal the role of generative design methods integrated into a single dynamic and flexible VR environment which supports early conceptual AEC design process.
|Name||AEI 2013: Building Solutions for Architectural Engineering - Proceedings of the 2013 Architectural Engineering National Conference|