Parametric Design /
Parametric Architecture

Parametric Design is a computer based design approach that treats the geometric properties of the design as variables. The dimensions, angles and geometric properties (like curvature) remain malleable as the design progresses. Although at any time the ‘parametric model’ displays a determinate shape according to the set of currently chosen values, the essential identity of the parametric design resides in the malleable object’s topology rather than its momentary determinate shape. This means that the design consists in the relationships that are maintained between the various elements of the composition. In fact the parametric design model is conceived as a network of relations or dependencies. This way of building up a design has the important advantage that the build-up of complexity and the detail resolution of the design can progress while simultaneously maintaining the malleability to adapt to changing requirements as new information is fed into the design process. The generation of alternative options remains viable and economical deep into the detail design without requiring abortive modeling and drafting work. This parametric malleability is advantageous both for the sake of continuous design adjustments as the design progresses, and for the sake of the generation of options and variations. The parametric model can be conceived as general building plan or geno-type for the generation of many different versions or pheno-types that might co-exist (rather than substitute each other as options).

Source: Design Parameters to Parametric Design | The Routledge Companion for Architecture Design and Practice

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