Formal algorithms in a rule based basic design studio
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CitationSarıoğlu Erdoğdu, G. P., Orbey, B. (2017). Formal algorithms in a rule based basic design studio. In Burçin Cem Arabacıoğlu, Pınar Arabacıoğlu (Eds.), 3rd International Conference on New Trends in Architecture and Interior Design, (pp. 486-496). Helsinki: Finland.
Basic Design in Schools of Architecture is mostly argued to rely on conventions, experience and intuition . Yet it is also a rational process which is not explicitly revealed. This study is inspired from the presence of both intuition and reason within the design environment characterized by the ill-defined nature of a design problem . It seeks to find formalisms of reason within this ill-defined setting from which intuition cannot be held separately. The study adopts a rule based design approach in an ill-defined setting; first to introduce novice designers with computational thinking in the absence of computers  and second, to identify the oscillation between reason and intuition as part of a greater conversation between the designer and the materials of the design situation . In the pursuit of rule based design, in this study a scholar attempt is made to understand the rationalistic aspects of Basic Design Studio. The paper presents the methodology followed in the Department of Architecture at Doğuş University, where students were asked to develop formal algorithms for each and every one of the exercises given throughout the semester. Formal algorithms were required to have both verbal and visual instructions, in such a way that a third person can draw (2D) or build (3D) designs without the help of the designer. As such, all the moves of the design process must be included in the formal algorithm since skipping even the small steps of the design process would prevent proper drawing/building of the design by the third person. At the end of the semester, an online questionnaire was distributed to all of the students. This questionnaire aimed to comprehend (a) how individual design experiences differed, (b) how ‘see-move-see’  process worked in the design process, and (c) which architectural terms were mostly used in algorithms. The results were reviewed in an open coding process and sub-categories were identified. Initial assumption was that designs of the exercises as well as the accompanying formal algorithms would not be successive events; rather the process would require a ‘see-move-see’ approach. The results supported the assumption. Most of the students developed algorithms in coordination with their see-move-see design processes. Another significant result of the study was that, architectural terms used in the Design Studio were frequently included in the algorithms where thereby a bridge between the abstract (like concepts) and the actual (like dimensions) properties of the designs could be linked. Final conclusion relates to one of the inherent characteristics of the Basic Design Studio: difficulties of ill-defined problem definitions in Basic Design Studios can be overcome by use of algorithms as students become able to de-compose and re-compose the design process into successive steps and instructions.