UNPACKING THE “CHINESE BOX”: MANAGING KNOWLEDGE IN ARCHITECTURAL DIGITAL MODELS
University of Bologna (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Wide uptake of digital drafting techniques shapes part of a generalized praxis today, almost in all universities involved in teaching engineering and architecture. The design activity has been deeply transformed due to advances in technology, soundly changing how students today and professionals tomorrow develop their documentation even if the construction industry is notoriously reluctant towards not proven shifts. The proposed research is based on a teaching and Ph.D. work lasted three years, ended with production of digital models intended as graphical and alphanumerical architectural-dedicated informative system, layered into the "Chinese box" paradigm. The integrated model’s structure in architecture is bound to the building’s logical deconstruction and embedded information can be looked up with several software interfaces by different actors involved in survey and fabrication process, from architects to engineers, from students to professionals, in order to share knowledge about the built environment. Each analytical aspect implies a nested model refinement, producing evolutionary steps from synthesis (processing of geometry) to reduction (preparation for analysis) and finally projection (visualization on various devices and environments). In order to quantify the effectiveness of a digital model, in observance to the purposes for which it has been generated, each value previously isolated has been characterized as an improvement in complexity, affecting the Complication Ratio (Rc, from Italian expression rapporto di complessità), a numerical value derived from auto-similarity and fractal mathematic, portrayed by a recursive modification of morphologies and contents. Increasing their Complication Ratios, models are qualified as progressive knowledge-based catalogues generated by different software, from scripted CAAD to parametric BIM, easily interchangeable among actors and extremely useful to understand how existing architecture works or imagined one could be.
Keywords: Knowledge management, engineering, architecture, digital models, knowledge-based models, Chinese box paradigm.