Formal Book Proposal, February, 2014


This book project considers the emerging design challenges and methods of producing increasingly complex, interactive, intelligent, high performance environmental systems and their impact on and symbiosis with human physical and cognitive well-being and performance.  The work begins by mapping emerging architectural design challenges and methods against emerging design challenges and methods in aerospace, defense, automotive, software, and control systems industries. Doing so leads to a comparison between existing and emerging architectural design challenges and existing and emerging design challenges in these other project domains. Given this mapping, emerging complex, interactive architectural design challenges are classified as subsets of the emerging complex, interactive industrial design challenges known as cyber-physical systems, ultra-large scale systems, and socio-technical systems, and a need for better representing and simulating the human occupants’ physical and cognitive tendencies during design is identified and explored. Next, existing and emerging design and analysis methods from architecture are compared to existing and emerging design and analysis methods used in these other domains (listed above) and insights into the future of architectural design and analysis methods are developed.  The relationship between these methods of representation and analysis are then compared to methods of representation and analysis in human factors and cognitive science with the goal of finding a way to represent human physical and cognitive activity in information models during the design of complex, interactive environmental systems so as to be able to take into account the impact on human physical and cognitive well-being and performance of the environmental systems being designed.  Finally, a set of core methods borrowed from the fields of human factors and systems engineering are mapped onto each other and to architectural methods and methods for mapping cognition.  These methods are described as likely core components of the evolution of architectural design and analysis methods if we are to more usefully represent and analyze the impact of the complex, interactive environments we design on human wellness and performance during the design process. Use of these core methods as part of  a project scoping exercise can be presented as a case study.  The intended readership for this book includes architects, other designers, human factors psychologists and engineers, systems engineers, and cognitive scientists.  This topic is first addressed at the philosophical level and then develops the ideas to the point of arriving at claims about likely design and analysis methods that should and/or will be incorporated into architectural practice in the future.  As such, this book should be of interest to scholars and progressive practitioners.  I am the author of this work. This work is based on my dissertation and the musings (short essays) of the last twenty years. I have a Bachelor of Architecture from Auburn University, seven years of professional experience in the AEC industry, and a PhD from Clemson University in Planning, Design, and the Built Environment.  I am now finishing a Master of Science in Human Factors.  While in graduate school, I’ve taken a heavy course load in human factors psychology, systems design, and product design.


The primary fields for this work are architecture, human factors, systems engineering, and cognitive science. In architecture, the ideas discussed in this book may trace their lineage to Bill Mitchell, Christopher Alexander, Stephen Kieran, James Timberlake, John Gero, Rivka Oxman, Nigel Cross, Kevin Lynch, Don Schon, Jane Jacobs, John Frazer, and Gordon Pask, among others. Practically, the design and analysis methods considered in this work are most applicable during project scoping and programming, and as project management tools. In the field of human factors, the ideas presented in this book relate to the areas of ecological psychology, cognitive task analysis, cognitive work analysis, and task analysis, and the works of Jens Rasmussen, Kim Vicente, Miranda Cornelissen, Neville Stanton, and Bonnie Johns, among others. In the field of systems engineering, the ideas presented in this book relate to the areas of model-based systems engineering, object-oriented systems engineering, SysML, cyber-physical systems, ultra-large scale systems, socio-technical systems, and the work of Edward Lee, Fei Xie, Russell Peak, Linda Northrop, Jeff Estefan, Sanford Friedenthal, Alan Moore, Rick Steiner, Dennis Buede, and Douglas Klir, among others.  In the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience, the  ideas presented in this book relate to the concepts of cognitive systems as dynamical systems and complex networks and to the work of Esther Thelen, Linda B. Smith, Gerald Edelman, David Kirsh, Andy Clark, and Leon Chua, among others.


The contribution of this work is in reframing complex, interactive architectural design challenges and the methods used to represent, analyze, and design them in four important ways. First, this work shows emerging architectural design challenges within a broader context of emerging complex, interactive systems design challenges.   In doing so, this work draws insights about likely characteristics and strategies appropriate for addressing such emerging architectural design challenges. Reframing architectural design challenges in this way brings discourse about architectural design challenges into alignment with the discourse on developing complex, interactive systems of several other fields.  This is a contribution to the field of architecture because it shows an expanded relevance for architectural skills and knowledge while also enhancing architectural skills and knowledge with influences from these other fields.   Second, this work identifies a need to represent and simulate human physical and cognitive tendencies during the design of complex, interactive environmental systems in order to ensure that human activity is adequately supported and enhanced.  This is a contribution to the field of architecture because it expands the concept of high-performance buildings to include the human performance and well-being as central to the definition of a high-performance building.  Third, this work identifies and develops a philosophical and practical framework through which human physical and cognitive activity can be represented as part of the human-machine system during the design and development of complex, interactive environmental systems.  This is a contribution to the field of architecture because the concepts and strategies presented in this book have applicability in the design of all high-performance, complex, interactive environmental systems, but especially those serving educational, health care, industrial, and work-related missions.  Fourth, a key finding of this research, and the reason why it is possible to map the physical and cognitive dimensions of human activity into information models used during early design, is that this work arrived at representational schemas in architecture, human factors, systems engineering, and cognitive science that all rely on the mathematics of graph theory and networks as the formal underpinnings.  This is a contribution to the field of architecture because demonstrating that these representational methods may be mapped onto each other because they depend upon the same underlying mathematical concepts is significant and has broad impact beyond architecture.  In summary, this work identified and isolated commonalities in the means of representation across architecture, human factors, systems engineering, and cognitive science.  This affords the possibility of better representing and simulating the human in the system, including the human’s cognition, during the early stages of design.  This will allow designers to understand the likely impact of their design decisions on human physical and cognitive well-being and performance, which should lead to more useful complex, interactive environmental systems.

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