An Integrated Software Environment for the Architectural Design Process

The general motivation of this research is to develop software to support the handling of the increased complexity of architectural design. In this paper we describe a system providing general support during the whole process. Instead of only developing design tools we are also addressing the problem of the operating environment of these tools. We conclude that design tools have to be integrated in an open, modular, distributed, user friendly and efficient environment. Two major fields have to be addressed - the development of design tools and the realisation of an integrated system as their operation environment. We will briefly focus on the latter by discussing known technologies in the field of information technology and other design disciplines that can be used to realise such an environment. Regarding the first subject we have to state the need of a detailed tool specification. As a solution we suggest a strategy where the tool functions are specified on the basis of a transformation, where a hierarchical process model is mapped into specifications of different design tools realising appropriate support for all sub-processes of architectural design. Using this strategy the main steps to develop such a support system are: implementation of a framework as basis for the integrated design system decision whether the tool specification are already implemented in available tools in this case these tools can be integrated using known methods for tool coupling otherwise new design tools have to be developed according to the framework


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