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Differentiated Space: Evolutionary exploration of spatial configurations for high-rise residential buildings



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N. Gu, S. Watanabe, H. Erhan, M. Hank Haeusler, W. Huang, R. Sosa (eds.), Rethinking Comprehensive
Design: Speculative Counterculture, Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Computer-
Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia CAADRIA 2014, 955–956. © 2014, The Association for
Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (CAADRIA), Hong Kong
1,2 National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore,
1. Introduction
This study attempts to test the feasibility of Evolutionary Algorithm as a de-
sign tool for exploring spatial configurations for high-rise residential build-
ings. The aim is to generate configurations where the individual flats and the
communal spaces in the building are highly differentiated in terms of their
spatial form. The context of this research is Singapore, and the residential
buildings are proposed as social housing.
2. Hypothesis and Evolutionary Exploration Method
The premise is that there is no such thing as a ‘standard’ family, and there-
fore flats should also not be standardized. The differentiated spatial configu-
rations give each flat and each communal space a distinct identity. The
unique three-dimensional volumetric configuration creates a vibrant charac-
ter for each flat unit, thereby giving the residences a sense of uniqueness.
Within these spaces, each family could then develop their own innovative
ways of inhabiting the space, by customizing the spatial subdivisions.
Meanwhile, the unique interlocked three-dimensional communal space,
which penetrates the whole building, not only provides circulation, also en-
courages the neighbourhood formation by serving as small play ground. To
handle this complex design task, this research proposes to use evolutionary
algorithm (Franzer 1995), which will allow the configurations to be explored
in an automated way, taking into account certain evaluation criteria.
3. Experiment Design
In the demonstration, residential blocks are defined as three-
dimensional masses, 27m x 72m, and 20 storey high. These blocks are
then split into a cellular grid, with each cell measuring each 4.5m x
4.5m x 3m (Patrick 2004). Flats are then defined as aggregations of
such cells. The plot ratio and daylight levels have been taken as key
evaluation criteria in the process of optimization (Hanna and Mahdavi
2003; March 1976). These two evaluation criteria are conflicting in
nature, interdependent on each other in opposite directions. In order to
enable light to penetrate deeper into the blocks, voids are inserted into
the massing of the buildings. These voids also create communal areas
shared by the neighboring flats, thereby encouraging small communi-
ties within the building to form.
The evolved buildings combine a high plot ratio with good daylight
availability. The developmental procedure (Figure1) results in flats with
complex spatial configurations that allow for new modes of habitation for
families in Singapore. Residents are able to select spatial configurations that
suit their lifestyles and family sizes. With the particular exploration on the
spatial volume and form of the flat units, this strategy can be applied for cre-
ating a quality living environment and vibrant living.
Figure 1. Developmental procedure for a new mode of high-rise residential building typology
in Singapore
Frazer J., 1995. An Evolutionary Architecture. London: Architectural Association
Patrick J (2004), A design method and computational architecture for generating and evolving
building designs, chapter 8, page 201-222
Hanna S. and Mahdavi S. H., 2003. An Evolutionary Approach to Microstructure Optimisa-
tion of Stereolithographic Models. London, UK: University College.
March L (1976) A Boolean description of a class of built formsí in L March (ed) The Archi-
tecture of Form, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge pp.41-73
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
The aim of this work is to utilize an evolutionary algorithm to evolve the microstructure of an object created by a stereolithography machine. This should be optimised to be able to withstand loads applied to it while at the same time minimizing its overall weight. A two part algorithm is proposed which evolves the topology of the structure with a genetic algorithm, while calculating the details of the shape with a separate, deterministic, iterative process derived from standard principles of structural engineering. The division of the method into two separate processes allows both flexibility to changed design parameters without the need for reevolution, and scalability of the microstructure to manufacture objects of increasing size. The results show that a structure was evolved that was both light and stable. The overall shape of the evolved lattice resembled a honeycomb structure that also satisfied the restrictions imposed by the stereolithography machine. © 2003 IEEE.
This paper describes a generative evolutionary design system that aims to fulfil two key requirements: customisability and scalability. Customisability is required in order to allow the design team to incorporate personalised and idiosyncratic rules and representations. Scalability is required in order to allow large complex designs to be generated and evolved without performance being adversely affected. In order to fulfil these requirements, a computational architecture has been developed that differs significantly from existing evolutionary systems. In order to verify the feasibility of the this architecture, the generative process capable of creating three-dimensional building models has been implemented and demonstrated.
A Boolean description of a class of built formsí in L March (ed) The Architecture of Form
  • L March
March L (1976) A Boolean description of a class of built formsí in L March (ed) The Architecture of Form, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge pp.41-73