The architectural floor plan design is essentially a manual process where the architect seeks the best solution in a trial-and-error process in order to accommodate all the requirements, preferences and objectives. So far, it is not known any commercial software that automatically generates alternative interior space design configurations.
Despite the use of computer-aided design programs, it is essentially a manual process. It consists in determining the spatial organization of the building, satisfying a set of requirements, such as dimensions and position of spaces, interior connectivity, size of openings, orientation of views, etc.. It is a hard process that involves costs where the final design quality is dependent on the past experience of the architect. Despite being a creative process, the floor plan design is, in essence, a combinatorial mathematical problem of different variables. As such, alternative design solutions may be huge, so surpassing the human capacity to perform all of them.
Thus, the use of computational tools for automatic generation may have an important role to make the process faster and to create a wider range of solutions. To date, there are no programs known in the market for automatic generation of architectural plans.
In order to assist the architect, it is intended with this project to develop a modular software aimed to the automatic generation of architectural plans, with the ability to assess and optimize the thermal performance or energy consumption of each design solution chosen by the user. The use of such a tool will enable the architect to reduce the amount of work necessary and it’s associated costs, enlarge the range of potential solutions and help the architect in taking informed decisions.
The software to be developed consists of two modules. The first will be devoted to the generation of floor plans with a graphical interface that allows the insertion of different requirements and preferences of the architect. It will export the geometry and related information to other CAD/BIM software on the market existing formats.
The second module is the thermal and energy performance evaluation of user-selected floor plans. Will be able to optimize each design solution by improving the thermal performance or reduce the energy consumption by changing a set of different design variables. Also, it will produce detailed performance reports to help the architect to compare alternative solutions.
Four promoters will participate in the project for the development, implementation, validation and dissemination of the product: University of Coimbra, VisioArq, CiberBit and WSBP. Each promoter will act within his area of expertise.