CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design
supported by the sibling associations ACADIA, CAADRIA, eCAADe, SIGraDi, ASCAAD and CAAD futures

id cf2011_p051
authors Cote, Pierre; Mohamed-Ahmed Ashraf, Tremblay Sebastien
year 2011
title A Quantitative Method to Compare the Impact of Design Mediums on the Architectural Ideation Process.
source Computer Aided Architectural Design Futures 2011 [Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Computer Aided Architectural Design Futures / ISBN 9782874561429] Liege (Belgium) 4-8 July 2011, pp. 539-556.
summary If we compare the architectural design process to a black box system, we can assume that we now know quite well both inputs and outputs of the system. Indeed, everything about the early project either feasibility studies, programming, context integration, site analysis (urban, rural or natural), as well as the integration of participants in a collaborative process can all be considered to initiate and sustain the architectural design and ideation process. Similarly, outputs from that process are also, and to some extent, well known and identifiable. We are referring here, among others, to the project representations or even to the concrete building construction and its post-evaluation. But what about the black box itself that produces the ideation. This is the question that attempts to answer the research. Currently, very few research works linger to identify how the human brain accomplishes those tasks; how to identify the cognitive functions that are playing this role; to what extent they operate and complement each other, and among other things, whether there possibly a chain of causality between these functions. Therefore, this study proposes to define a model that reflects the activity of the black box based on the cognitive activity of the human brain. From an extensive literature review, two cognitive functions have been identified and are investigated to account for some of the complex cognitive activity that occurs during a design process, namely the mental workload and mental imagery. These two variables are measured quantitatively in the context of real design task. Essentially, the mental load is measured using a Bakan's test and the mental imagery with eyes tracking. The statistical software G-Power was used to identify the necessary subject number to obtain for significant variance and correlation result analysis. Thus, in the context of an exploratory research, to ensure effective sample of 0.25 and a statistical power of 0.80, 32 participants are needed. All these participants are students from 3rd, 4th or 5th grade in architecture. They are also very familiar with the architectural design process and the design mediums used, i.e., analog model, freehand drawing and CAD software, SketchUp. In three experimental sessions, participants were asked to design three different projects, namely, a bus shelter, a recycling station and a public toilet. These projects were selected and defined for their complexity similarity, taking into account the available time of 22 minutes, using all three mediums of design, and this in a randomly manner to avoid the order effect. To analyze the two cognitive functions (mental load and mental imagery), two instruments are used. Mental imagery is measured using eye movement tracking with monitoring and quantitative analysis of scan paths and the resulting number and duration of participant eye fixations (Johansson et al, 2005). The mental workload is measured using the performance of a modality hearing secondary task inspired by Bakan'sworks (Bakan et al.; 1963). Each of these three experimental sessions, lasting 90 minutes, was composed of two phases: 1. After calibrating the glasses for eye movement, the subject had to exercise freely for 3 minutes while wearing the glasses and headphones (Bakan task) to get use to the wearing hardware. Then, after reading the guidelines and criteria for the design project ( 5 minutes), he had 22 minutes to execute the design task on a drawing table allowing an upright posture. Once the task is completed, the subject had to take the NASA TLX Test, on the assessment of mental load ( 5 minutes) and a written post-experimental questionnaire on his impressions of the experiment ( 10 minutes). 2. After a break of 5-10 minutes, the participant answered a psychometric test, which is different for each session. These tests ( 20 minutes) are administered in the same order to each participant. Thus, in the first experimental session, the subject had to take the psychometric test from Ekstrom et al. (1978), on spatial performance (Factor-Referenced Cognitive Tests Kit). During the second session, the cognitive style is evaluated using Oltman's test (1971). Finally, in the third and final session, participant creativity is evaluated using Delis-Kaplan test (D-KEFS), Delis et al. (2001). Thus, this study will present the first results of quantitative measures to establish and validate the proposed model. Furthermore, the paper will also discuss the relevance of the proposed approach, considering that currently teaching of ideation in ours schools of architecture in North America is essentially done in a holistic manner through the architectural project.
keywords design, ideation process, mental workload, mental imagery, quantitative mesure
series CAAD Futures
email pierre.cote@arc.ulaval.ca
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