Knowledge-rich optimisation of prefabricated façades to support conceptual design
One of the principal challenges in façade design is to support the architectural intent by devising technically viable (i.e. standard-compliant and manufacturable) solutions from as early as possible in the design stage. This is increasingly relevant as prefabricated façades increase in complexity and bespokedness in response to current societal, financial and environmental challenges. In this paper a process that addresses this challenge is presented. The process consists of two sub-processes 1) to build product-oriented knowledge bases and digital tools for supporting design on a project-by-project basis and 2) to help designers identify a set of optimal solutions that consider the façade-specific trade-off between architectural intent and performance requirements, while meeting the largest number of production-related constraints. This process was applied to a case study and the results were compared with those obtained from a recently-developed façade. It was found that, although the proposed process produces optimal solutions that are approximated, designers can benefit from more control over the product’s manufacturability, performance and architectural intent in less time.