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And what if anyone could design their house?

02.10.2017 Society, Innovation

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What if, as in a computer game, you could design your own home, and the program would take care of the rules that have to be followed in architecture? This possibility is explored by Krystian Kwieciński, PhD student at the Faculty of Architecture, Warsaw University of Technology.

An original design, specially prepared for the client by an architect, costs quite a lot of money. A cheaper, ready-made house design means a compromise. Maybe in the future there will be a new possibility - a program that will help the client to design a dream house...


It is now possible to order online, for example, personalized shoes (you can choose colours, material, embroidery), a car with the desired parameters (you can choose the engine, upholstery colour, dashboard style), or use an app to "design" furniture to suit your needs (choose colour and size of the cabinets, the number of shelves and their height). This is called mass customization.


Krystian Kwieciński argues that similar tools could be used in the comprehensive design of houses. Representatives of Warsaw University of Technology informed about the research of the PhD student in a release sent to PAP.


"There are more and more digital tools for people interested in designing their own house" - said Krystian Kwieciński. But, contrary to appearances these tools require professional knowledge.


That is why the researcher from Warsaw University of Technology is pondering a system that would help the user plan the individual elements of the building. The program would allow to "build" a house in the virtual world. It is important to protect the customers from their unrestricted fantasies and ensure the safety of use. After all, it should not be possible to design a building that does not comply with applicable regulations and generally accepted design principles, for example, one that has poorly designed rooms or insufficient light in rooms.


"Based on customer's guidance and design rules set by an architect, the system generates a design response that should meet the requirements of both parties" - explained Krystian Kwieciński.


Krystian Kwieciński created a theoretical model of such system with the help of Prof. Władysław Homenda from the Faculty of Mathematics and Information Science. Last year, this model was successfully implemented and tested in software for generating cities.


There are companies that allow users to choose materials and finishes while designing their houses, but imagination suggests that the possibilities in this area are far greater.


Kwieciński argues that architects who creatively solve problems everyday should not feel threatened. "The proposed system is only capable of finding solutions to simple and repetitive design problems, but it is not capable of thinking creatively" - explained the doctoral student. According to Kwieciński, the system is designed to make it easier for the customer to participate in the design process. Architects will be able to use this solution in their daily work. "The objective of my PhD project is both exploring the possibilities offered by this type of approach as well as the limitations associated with its use" - he explained.


Krystian Kwieciński will spend the next 9 months on a Fulbright Scholarship at Pennsylvania State University, where he will carry out the research project "Limits of Use of Mass Customization in Residential Construction". He will work with Prof. Jose Duarte.


Duarte analysed the style of Álvaro Siza's buildings in a Portuguese social housing estate on the outskirts of Évora. Duarte defined and the rules that governed the project of this estate and translated them into algorithms. Computer program generated a series of design solutions. Álvaro Siza, having seen these projects, said that they were all consistent with his plans. This way Prof. Duarte confirmed that automatic home design based on strict rules is possible.


"Since then, more than 15 years have passed, and mass customization has not found widespread use in residential construction. I would like to find the answer to the question >>why?<< during my stay in the US" - concluded Kwieciński.


PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland


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Tags: architecture
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