being made. New organizational and contractual arrangements and physical and virtual collaboration spaces make it feasible to assemble large, multidisciplinary teams. New rating systems, guidelines, and codes help define objectives. Building information models and parametric modeling help generate alternatives. Automated analysis tools can analyze energy, structure, schedule, cost, and many other performance objectives. Designers have at their disposal a rich and growing set of human and technological processes for constructing design spaces and understanding and maximizing multistakeholder value.
These developments come hopefully just in time. In the next decades, project teams will design unprecedented amounts of new and refurbished buildings and infrastructure. As resources become increasingly scarce, building technologies more numerous, and the impacts of the built environment more apparent, architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals will need to make profoundly complex and difficult decisions. To find the best designs, they will need to construct and communicate very large design spaces, which help them fully understand the objectives, exhaustively search the alternatives, systematically do the analysis, and explicitly communicate the value of their projects. Even as government, industry, and academic leaders are calling for professionals to apply these new methods, however, successful adoption is proving difficult. There is still a large gap between the available and emerging methods and the ability of design teams to reliably and successfully and consistently apply them in practice. The traditional precedence-based design processes still taught and in use today construct and communicate small design spaces that leave better designs undiscovered. Project teams lack sociotechnical platforms and methodologies that allow them to relate all of these new methods and information to effectively and efficiently construct and explore larger, better design spaces.
Many research fields are relevant to developing this new platform, including organizational theory and social networking, design theory and methodology, building information and process modeling, model-based analysis, multidisciplinary design optimization, decision science, human-computer interaction, economics, and artificial intelligence. Numerous research methods involving ethnography, theory building, tool building, data analysis, and action research are relevant to understanding where existing methods fail and how to better fit and improve this platform. This presentation discusses one ongoing effort to develop such a platform for collaboratively constructing sustainable building and infrastructure design spaces.
The next section summarizes methods to describe the quality and clarity of design spaces and the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes used to construct them. These definitions are then used to illustrate how design spaces are constructed and communicated today. Subsequently, the paper summarizes work to construct an integrated platform of tools. Tests in the laboratory and in practice illustrate the ways elements of the platform can individually and collectively improve design space quality and clarity considerably over current methods.