Activities Oriented Design Environments

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This is my first article for ECAADE conference in the year 2000, it was about my research work and my doctoral thesis.
Years ago, ideas such as cloud computing and other integration technologies were science fiction, now they are a reality disrupting our thinking and way of doing buisness.

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Activities Oriented Design Environments

  1. 1. Activities Oriented EnvironmentsA conceptual model for building advanced CAAD systemsFarid Mokhtar NoriegaKeywordsCAAD, CAAD Design Pradigms, CAAD User Interfaces, Architectural Design ManagementAbstract necessary for designing advanced CAAD sys- tems. The majority of the existing structural pro-The Activities Oriented Design Environments, is a posals (MITCHELL, KALAY, EASTMAN, BIJL,collection of proposals that will introduce impor- etc.), cover partial aspects of the existing tech-tant changes in the interaction procedures and in- nology.tegration mechanisms, in the design of CAAD soft- • 2- The USER-COMPUTER interaction proceduresware and the operating environments that support are the most critical component of the CAADthem. We will discuss how this environment uses systems. The CAAD programs, still use sophisti-the architectural activities as a reference for his or- cated interaction procedures, distant form dayganizational scheme, and the structural rules that to day design activities. Users are constantlycontrol it’s operations. pushed to develop complex roundups, in order to develop a simple design task. • 3- The lack of an organizational scheme neces-Justification sary for the development of Architectural De- sign project activities with the aid of ComputerThis proposal is the synthesis of a doctoral thesis Technology.research project, who’s main objective is the in-vestigation of the CAAD technology concepts andfundamentals, and their use in the design of an Theoretical Fundamentalsadvanced conceptual model for an integratedCAAD that supports the architectural project ac- The first step for the development of an appropri-tivities, from it’s early conceptual phases and until ate USER-COMPUTER interaction procedures, isit’s final stages. the development of an alternative organizational The initial research, showed three critical defi- scheme of the architectural design project activi-ciencies: ties, capable of integrating the computer technol-• 1- The lack of innovative conceptual paradigms, ogy in the daily architectural practice. 131
  2. 2. The main purpose of this organizational scheme liminary planing of the projects activities and theis to share with CAAD systems developers, a set of USER-COMPUTER interaction.simple terms, expressions and activities procedures The development of the whole organizationalnecessary for the construction of adequate USER- scheme, of the ACTIVITIES ORIENTED ENVIRON-COMPUTER interaction mechanisms, and a solid MENT will use a set of structural rules, that governintegration of the project information from the early the main relations between the architectural de-stages of the design process. sign activities: Our major concern, was to search for a reduced • 1- MULTIPLE LEVEL ORGANIZATION: uses thenumber of architectural expressions capable of rep- decision tree (ALEXANDER, 1975), to subdivideresenting without confusion the majority of the the project activities into multiple levels, each onearchitectural activities, considering that the archi- represent a complex set of related activities. Thetectural design activity has a sophisticated organi- multi level structure, will define the exact loca-zational scheme whose volume and intensity de- tion of each activity in the organizational scheme.pends on many factors like the building type and • 2- repetitive Subdivision: progressively divides allthe necessities program. the activities, main and auxiliary, at each level of The first criteria for organizing this activities, is the organizational scheme, into three subgroupsthe Level of contribution. Some activities are es- of activities: DESIGN, PRODUCE and COMMU-sential for the development of the activities, those NICATE. These generic activities, represent atwere called MAIN Activities, others participate par- each level a complete set of highly specializedtially in some critical moments, those were called activities.AUXILIARY Activities. From the study of the other • 3- ACTIVITY GOALS: controls the level of de-organizational schemes (RIBA, MITCHELL, etc.), we velopment of the activities schemes, the direc-selected five expressions that has the capability of tion of it’s evolution and the election of the nec-symbolically representing these design activities: essary shifts. The architectural design activity,DESIGN, PRODUCE and COMMUNICATE, as the doesn’t follow a unique linear direction, theyMain architectural activities; MANAGE and ASSIST could evolve in several directions: front-back,as the Auxiliary activities. left-right and parallely. Design, represent all the creative activities de- • 4- MINIMUM DEFINITION LEVEL: representsveloped in the architectural project. Produce, rep- the adequate moment for beginning the designresent all the activities related to production of the activity, when the architect determines the mainworking drawings and the management of the con- design goals, activities, and resources, necessarystruction activities. COMMUNICATE, represents all to develop it.the activities related to the communication of thedesign ideas. Manage, represent all the activitiesthat control the organization of the project activi- Operating schemeties and the computer system. Assist, are the ac-tivities responsible of the users assistance, during The Activities Oriented Environments, could bethe development of their activities. used as the main User Interface for an existing This reduced set of representative activities will operating system. This will allow the architect andavoid conceptual confusions, each time the archi- all the design team share a unique working envi-tect or project manager will have to define special- ronment. The architect, will use it to organize theized activities; this approach will simplify the pre- project activity, and the design team the activities132 3. Advanced Design and Planning Tools
  3. 3. organization and the adequate tools for develop- types of geometric models (surface, solid, etc.) toing it. give the user a complete liberty in the initial repre- The system will work as follows: sentation process. The chief designer will initiate the design plan- The programs working in this Environment willing assistant in the initial phase of the project. At use professional known terms to build the user in-this initial level, the designer will select the activity terface, which will eliminate the necessity to learnfocus from the three basic activities (design, pro- different procedures in the system. The Environ-duce, communicate). Each one of them will define ment will establish some basic interaction rules,a sophisticated set of sub-activities. This goal will which will not interfere with the interaction proce-depend basically on some other design variables dures necessary for each program.such as: objectives, resources, project program, etc. This initial operating script allowed us to deter-This initial goal is not going to be the definitive mine some investigation necessities in order to de-project planing, but will help him configure a glo- velop a full functional Activities Oriented Environ-bal idea about the project needs, especially the ment, these are:computer equipment an programs necessary to • 1- The elaboration of a detailed scheme of thedevelop it. For example: if the designer selects the day to day architectural project activities, to usedesign as a goal, the design planing assistant will it as a global reference for all the design profes-lead him to the next level of definition in order to sionals.select from the established activities what he con- • 2- This basic scheme will offer the computersiders adequate to his design. At every level, the manufacturers a precise orientation towards thesystem will provide the user, upon request, the real needs of the architects.applications necessary to develop the selected ac- • 3- The need to design a flexible representationtivities and their availability in the market or in his model that allows: a) the substitution of simpleown system, or the www direction of a company geometries with detailed ones to support thethat develops it. In some cases, the user will be progressive refinement of the design, b) therequested to go to a more detailed level of the or- standard 2D representations and technical draw-ganizational scheme, when the activity is poorly ing conventions.defined. • 4- The development of: a) Expert assistants that Once the basic need of the selected activities has could act as seamless decision making tools forbeen defined the user has enough resources to every activity; b) Learning assistants, to help re-begin developing the basic conceptual idea in a duce the users learning curve; c) Managementneutral environment, which doesn’t depend on a assistants, to maintain the project activities andspecific program nor uses a restricted data model. control their execution.Each project will have his own container, which will As we could observe, the Activities Oriented Envi-integrate all the data (geometric, descriptive, im- ronments as conceptual and operating scheme, isages, bitmaps, etc.) related to the design. The data still in it’s initial phases. It will need an extensivewill be associated together by dynamic links. collective work to refine it, develop the most ad- The programs operating in the environment, will equate activity organization, and design all it’s op-have the liberty to consult the project container erating components such as: interaction proce-and extract from it the information it needs, rec- dures, integration scheme and data representationognize the available links for updating all the data. models.The container will be able to combine different Activities Oriented Environments 133
  4. 4. References COMPARATIVE STUDY. KALAY, Yehuda. Editor In: Principles of Computer-Aided Design, Computability of Design. John Wiley & Sons; 1987.ALEXANDER, Christopher. NOTES ON THE SYNTHESIS MITCHELL, William J.; LIGGETT, Robin; y TAN, Milton.OF FORM. Harvard University Press; 1964. THE MULTI-LEVEL ANALYSIS AND OPTIMIZATIONEASTMAN, Charles M. OF DESIGNS. Yehuda Kalay. Editor In: Evaluating andFUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS IN THE DEVELOPMENT Predicting Design Performance, Jhon Wiley & Sons;OF COMPUTER-BASED ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN 1990.MODELS. KALAY, Yehuda. Editor In: Principles ofComputer-Aided Design, Computability of Design, JohnWiley & Sons; 1987. Farid Mokhtar NoriegaMaCINTOSH, Patricia G. MODELS OF SPATIAL Madrid school of Architecture (ETSAM), Madrid, SpainINFORMATIONS IN COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN A vizbits@eurociber.es

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