W. Zeiler

The European Union and its Member States have a large number of on-going policy initiatives directly aimed at future building regulations which will require nearly “Zero Energy Buildings” in Europe. The increased complexity of future building design inexorably calls for more design collaboration and the early collaboration of architects and engineers can facilitate the creation of new knowledge and solutions beyond the specific scope of each individual discipline. This calls for an integrated design approach which, already at the initial conceptual design phase, requires the involvement of various design experts from different domains to form multidisciplinary design teams. In order to support these teams, a design method based on the use of morphological charts and a morphological overview was developed in cooperation with the Dutch professional organizations of architects and consulting engineers. This tool aids architects and engineers with their new role in the conceptual design phase, as it enables effective exchange of each discipline’s perspective on the design task as well as structuring available domain knowledge. For ten years the method has been applied in the Master Program project “Integral Design”, at the Faculty of the Built Environment of the Technical University Eindhoven, as part of a multidisciplinary program in which students work together with experienced professionals. The outcomes show that the design support tool facilitates a significant increase in the number of possible solutions generated by design teams, and it demonstrates that the morphological charts and morphological overview can be used as an analysis tool for evaluating the impact of different interventions during the conceptual phase of the building design process. A detailed discussion of the design support tool itself, and how the tool was utilized to determine the impact of various interventions is investigated, such as the use of C-constructs based on the Concept-Knowledge theory of Hatchel and Weil, in order to further stimulate the generation of sub-solutions.