Architecture Students' Search Behavior in Parametric Design
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe (eCAADe)
Over the last decade, architecture has witnessed a growing popularity for new computational tools such as parametric design environments (PDEs). Given their rapid evolution and development, expertise tends to become increasingly transient, and architects find themselves in a situation where they must constantly re-learn their tools. At the same time, access to information has become increasingly widespread. Self-learners can thus rely on information retrieval systems to address knowledge gaps.
... owever, the inherent tool complexity has given rise to a new kind of knowledge. On the basis of the different types described by Anderson and Krathwohl, the authors have previously shown that conceptual knowledge is essential for teaching parametric design. In contrast, research on interactive information retrieval (IIR) has highlighted that procedural knowledge is preferred in create tasks like design. Consequently, it can be argued that in a self-learning situation, architects might not be adopting best practice in relation to knowledge retrieval, especially when considering the visual scripting nature of certain PDEs. The purpose of this paper is to observe cognitive patterns in knowledge search activities while designing in parametric environments and validate the integration of CLT and IIR for further research. We highlight the types of knowledge and sources architecture graduate students, novices in PDEs, search for during design over multiple sessions and why. The paper reports on three design tasks completed during a computational course that emphasized student's autonomy. A qualitative analysis of interviews reveals epistemic actions to fall prey to procedural information, which is in line with both IIR and CLT research. This research is part of a PhD project studying the impact of knowledge retrieval on architectural design when using PDEs. Eventually, it could raise awareness in education, research, and practice regarding information retrieval in architectural design.