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In architectural design process, architects’ drawings provide spatial visualization of the project answering the client’s requirements gathered in the brief. Their assessment is usually performed manually by following a set of evaluation criteria defined by the client. Functional assessment is based on activities textually described in the brief and graphically synthesized in functional diagrams. As it is performed manually and considering the large amount of requirements contained in a brief, only a limited set of requirements could be checked and the overall coherence of the analysis often remains difficult. This paper proposes a design artifact, called the meta-space diagram, aiming at supporting this functional assessment. This design artifact is based on a literature review on functional modeling in Engineering as well as on space layout techniques used in Architecture (e.g. graph, bubble diagram). A retrospective analysis of an existing building, its brief and subsequent plans, serves as a basis to develop and to first evaluate the proposed design artifact. The meta-space diagram is an enhanced oriented and labeled graph. It can model two kinds of artifacts in the same form: activities and processes described by the client in the brief, and architects’ space proposals. As the building should support the service it is supposed to provide, both meta-space diagrams have to match. Alignment between the two models is ensured by spatial allocation and grouping based on the client’s requirements. The meta-space diagram tackles issues related to loss of information/requirements and imprecision between the brief and the proposals. It provides elements to be discussed by the client and the architect to make evolve both the brief and/or the design toward compliance with what the client really wants. It constitutes a first step toward automation of the functional assessment. The next step is its application on a larger case study to confirm the first presented results.
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