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A Generative Approach to Campus Design

Data-driven design presents many opportunities for the future of the architectural design process. Paired with thoughtful human insight, sophisticated algorithms and generative modelling present an innovative path forward for the future of campus design.

By Ari Bose


April 27, 2021

The on-campus learning and living environment is constantly evolving to improve the higher education experience for students. Design strategies are used to encourage learning, increase student retention and graduation rates, and ensure the quality of learning experiences. Across IBI Group’s Learning+ practice, we utilize data-driven design, a highly collaborative process that generates successful outcomes and useful insights on the innovative possibilities of technology-enhanced campus design.

The most valuable aspect of data-driven design is the unlimited number of experimental designs that are made possible through customizable algorithms and generative modelling. This is valuable because the algorithms can consider several inputs within a given model to accommodate a project’s specifications, and the algorithms and inputs work together to find multiple configurations within the design process. With more use, the technology can become smarter and more efficient, expanding the amount of research and complexity of the inputs that the model can process at one time.

This innovation does not come without its limitations. Human sentiment is still necessary in the design process because data-driven design cannot yet compute at a level that satisfies human opinion and subjectivity. This limitation can also be considered a strength, as the design process is inherently collaborative and multivalent. Data-driven design, coupled with thoughtful human insight, therefore enhances the design process, taking it to new heights.

A version of this insight appeared on page 56 of the Higher Education PPP Report 2021. It expands on how IBI Group is employing data-driven design principles to deliver sustainable, future-forward campuses across North America.

Click here to view a recording of the Data-Driven Decision Making in the Design Process panel at the P3 Bulletin Higher Education Hub.

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