Altabtabai, Jawad A S R B (2017-12). Parametric BIM-based Design Review. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This research addressed the need for a new design review technology and method to express the tangible and intangible qualities of architectural experience of parametric BIM-based design projects. The research produced an innovative presentation tool by which parametric design is presented systematically. Focus groups provided assessments of the tool to reveal the usefulness of a parametric BIM-based design review method. The way in which we visualize architecture affects the way we design and perceive architectural form and performance. Contemporary architectural forms and systems are very complex, yet most architects who use Building Information Modeling (BIM) and generative design methods still embrace the two-dimensional 15th-century Albertian representational methods to express and review design projects. However, architecture cannot be fully perceived through a set of drawings that mediate our perception and evaluation of the built environment. The systematic and conventional approach of traditional architectural representation, in paper-based and slide-based design reviews, is not able to visualize phenomenal experience nor the inherent variation and versioning of parametric models. Pre-recorded walk-throughs with high quality rendering and imaging have been in use for decades, but high verisimilitude interactive walk-throughs are not commonly used in architectural presentations. The new generations of parametric and BIM systems allow for the quick production of variations in design by varying design parameters and their relationships. However, there is a lack of tools capable of conducting design reviews that engage the advantages of parametric and BIM design projects. Given the multitude of possibilities of in-game interface design, game-engines provide an opportunity for the creation of an interactive, parametric, and performance-oriented experience of architectural projects with multi-design options. This research has produced a concept for a dynamic presentation and review tool and method intended to meet the needs of parametric design, performance-based evaluation, and optimization of multi-objective design options. The concept is illustrated and tested using a prototype (Parametric Design Review, or PDR) based upon an interactive gaming environment equipped with a novel user interface that simultaneously engages the parametric framework, object parameters, multi-objective optimized design options and their performances with diagrammatic, perspectival, and orthographic representations. The prototype was presented to representative users in multiple focus group sessions. Focus group discussion data reveal that the proposed PDR interface was perceived to be useful if used for design reviews in both academic and professional practice settings.

publication date

  • December 2017