Technology transfer, architectural design and integrated building design systems
This study investigates issues concerning the technology transfer from research to practice in the building industry. It is divided broadly into two parts. The first part concentrates on current problems in this transfer process. The second part explores the potential of an integrated building design system as a solution to the existing problems. It has been widely acknowledged that many research findings and proven technologies have not been fully utilised by architects in practice. A review of the current research and design practice in the building industry has revealed a number of obstacles to this transfer process. One of the major obstacles is the gap between architects' requirements in terms of technical support and the provision of existing design support systems. Based on extensive analyses, it has been concluded that an integrated approach is needed for the provision of design supports. The rapid increase in the application of computing facilities in design practice provides a promising platform for the development of a computer based Integrated Building Design System (IBDS). The main characteristics of an IBDS include (1) supporting multiple design tasks, (2) integrated and maintaining information exchange between different tasks, (3) responsive to architects' requests. A prototyping study is conducted in a wider context of a European research project, Computer Modelling in Building Industry in Europe (COMBINE). An IBDS prototype, MultiCAD, has been developed as a result, which demonstrates the concepts and feasibility of an integrated building design system in design support. It is expected that IBDS, such as MultiCAD, will play a key role in the improvement of architectural design support and hence the technology transfer in the building industry. Finally, conclusions of the study have been summarised and suggestions for future research in this area are outlined.