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Br: An Interactive Software Prototype For 3 D Layout

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Technical Issues in Architectural Engineering II

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.320.1 - 12.320.7



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Paper Authors

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Henriette Bier TU Delft


Dave Hoffers TU Delft

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D. Hoffers is student at Delft University of Technology. He participated 2006 in the BuildingRelations project and developed the sub-tool: SizeDefiner.

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Matthijs Frederiks TU Delft

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M. Frederiks is student at Delft University of Technology. He participated 2006 in the BuildingRelations project and developed the sub-tool: FunctionDistributor.

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Sander Korebritz TU Delft

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S. Korebritz is student at Delft University of Technology. He participated 2006 in the BuildingRelations project and developed the sub-tool: BoundingBox.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

BR: An Interactive Software-Prototype for 3D Layout


As a research project implemented with graduate students from TU_____, BuildingRelations [BR] deals with the development of an interactive software prototype to support the design process: BR employs bottom-up principles of organization to generate functional layouts exhaustively enabling development of more alterna- tives than by means of conventional sketching methods mainly because architectural space planning is highly combinatorial, and therefore, difficult to conceive exhaustively by human search means.


Focusing on the development of an interactive design tool which allows simulation of complex design proc- esses, the project proposes an alternative design method based on Swarm Intelligence [SI]. SI is, basically, an Artificial Intelligence [AI] method consisting of agents interacting locally with one another and with their en- vironment similarly to the way fish interact in a swarm and birds in a flock.

In the absence of top-down control dictating how individual agents should behave, local interactions between agents lead to the bottom-up emergence of global behavior. The rules according to which agents interact are simple: C. Reynolds' flocking simulation, for instance, is based on three rules according to which digital birds flock – [1] maintain a minimum distance from neighbors, [2] match velocity with neighbors and [3] move to- wards the center of the swarm. While these rules are local, establishing the behavior of one agent in relation- ship to its neighbor, the flock behaves as a whole coherently.

Figure 1: Functional units swarm in the 3D space towards local optimal configurations. Functional units are represented in this example as blue boxes; spatial relations between functional units are represented as magenta connecting-lines.

Similarly, all functional units/objects pertaining to a building can be seen as flocking agents striving to achieve an optimal layout. Spatial relations between functional units can be described as sets of rules, according to which all units organize themselves into specific configurations. This approach is particularly suitable for the functional layouting of large and complex structures: While the architect might find it difficult to have an over- view of all functions and their attributed volume and preferential location, the functional units can easily swarm towards local optimal configurations.

Bier, H., & Hoffers, D., & Frederiks, M., & Korebritz, S. (2007, June), Br: An Interactive Software Prototype For 3 D Layout Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2004

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