Ebook: Delft Science in Design 2
The mission of the publication Delft Science in Design is to promote and advance the exchange of lessons learned on design between university and industry. Also, it aims to amplify the visibility of the results of academic effort in design at Delft University. The questions “What is design?”, “What is engineering?”, “What is science?” can be fiercely debated. Between the extremes of artistic design and pure science, the transitions are like in fluid: they are smooth and gradual. An approach focusing on how the university deals with knowledge may provide a better entry to the debate. The mutual understanding between scientists from different disciplines may get lost. It is one of the two major objectives of the Delft Science in Design congress to offer a kaleidoscope of the activities of the various faculties to all university colleagues and students, so that staff and students can be made aware of activities in other laboratories, and have the opportunity to be informed on details. Being informed is the first step to understanding.
The Architecture Faculty is a highly appreciated, self-willed and essential part of TU Delft. With its design tradition the Architecture Faculty, together with Industrial Design Engineering, takes up a special place within our Delft University of Technology.
It is characteristic of both Faculties that they utilise the developments in both science and the art world. Not only do they improve everyday products – for instance a house or the heel of a women's shoe – but because of their creative designs they also add value to these products.
An issue is that the outside world tends to classify design studies as not being truly scientific. This often makes it more difficult to obtain extra funding for research, and the education is not always given its real merit by the evaluation committees of the Ministry.
I feel this is unjustified: to me, architecture and industrial design engineering are academic studies in the same way that applied physics or electrical engineering are academic studies. I do think, however, that the formulation of theories with regard to academic design needs to be further developed. For this reason this aspect has received increased attention within the Delft University in recent years.
At first glance an architect will design something differently from a chemical technologist, for instance. To be able to compare the academic level of both professional areas irrespective of these different angles, criteria have been formulated that an academic designer must comply with. To this effect Anthonie Meijers, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology at TU Eindhoven and TU Delft, interviewed representatives from different technical fields. Based on these interviews he concluded that the architect and the chemical technologist share a common design framework. For instance, he noted that all groups of academic designers will first redefine the problems before they start to look for a solution. They are all able to design at system level and with a high degree of complexity. It also became clear that matter-of-factness is an important characteristic that all engineers share. Both architects and chemical technologists are able to cope well with risks and changes to the definition of the problem in the course of the design process.
Based on these findings the three Universities of Technology in The Netherlands have formulated criteria with respect to the skills an academic designer must possess when he or she graduates from a University of Technology. For instance, engineers must have no difficulty with abstract thinking and with taking certain liberties in their designs. They must also be able to re-formulate poorly structured design problems in order to arrive at a better solution.
In addition to these criteria I also feel it is essential that designers are prepared to look at their own design process. In doing so it is important that they are able to distinguish between the context of discovery and the context of justification. In the context of discovery one describes how a certain design was created. However, I feel this alone is not enough. In the context of justification one reconstructs or analyses the decisions made during the design process, and then proceeds to justify these decisions. This approach makes it possible to come to a critical exchange of ideas about the academic level of a design.
At the same time this process can remove a lot of the perceived mystery that tends to surround the design process.
In order to facilitate a constructive debate about, for instance, the context of justification, it is important that the different parties involved speak the same language. I am therefore a proponent of the development of a ‘design language’.
Louis Bucciarelli is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was a guest lecturer at TU Delft some years ago. He too was an enthusiastic supporter of the idea of a design language. Bucciarelli concluded that, like science, the design process has also changed considerably in the last few decades. The design process has evolved from the application of fairly simple, traditional experiential knowledge to the use of advanced technology. According to Bucciarelli, design has now become a social process: it is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between different specialists. Increasing numbers of specialists collaborate on the design of a building or product. In order to develop a good product an exchange of knowledge, negotiation and an understanding of each other's wishes is essential - especially because, according to Bucciarelli, each party focuses on safeguarding the criteria of his own discipline within a design. In aircraft design strength is the focal point for a structural engineer, and speed comes second. An engineer who is responsible for propulsion, in contrast, will focus mainly on the engines and not so much on the structure. In a building process we can see a similar division. An architect wants to realise a high-profile design of the building as an object in the built environment; politicians seek to use the building as a means with which to impress the public; the structural engineer wants the design to be stable and structurally sound; the project developer wants the building mainly to be profitable for a long time. They all will mainly look at the same building from the perspective of their own interests.
A common design language could contribute to increasing the transparency of the discussion between these parties. Bucciarelli suggests that each discipline should compile a terminology list that is relevant to the professional field in question. In the list terms must be ranked in order of importance. Based on these terminology lists it would then be possible to devise a design language. It would, however, be essential to the development of this language that each party acknowledges the expertise of the other parties, and accepts their proposed terms. If this kind of acceptance is not realised consensus will never be achieved. And bearing in mind the strong-willed types of people usually involved in the design process, this will not be a simple task.
I feel that the development of a design language is a challenge par excellence for engineers of Delft University of Technology. We are able to analyse problems matter-of-factly, but enjoy finding inventive and creative solutions. There may be architects who fear that a design language will restrict their creativity, but I don't think such fears are justified. Musical notation has never inhibited the creativity of composers. Quite the contrary: such notation allows composers to discuss their ideas with other composers and make it clear to musicians how the music must be played. I expect that a design language will fulfil a similar function, and that it will contribute to creative and academic designs that can be discussed in debates that push back frontiers and open up new horizons.
Prof. Jacob T. Fokkema
Rector Magnificus, Delft University of Technology
As the development of conventional aircraft has reached a point of saturation, novel configurations are required for coping with increased operational demands for airliners and stringent environmental requirements for the future. In the search for such configurations, old ideas like the Blended wing Body (BWB) seem to readily provide attractive solutions. However, for successful application of the BWB configuration, a major problem must be solved: the design of a rotationally non-symmetric fuselage with a reasonable weight. This paper outlines the search for the optimal fuselage. Beginning with a short historical overview and a presentation of future demands, the concept of multidisciplinary design, together with simple design rules, is enabled for crystallising the optimal anisotropic multi bubble fuselage arrangement.
This paper gives a compact view on two graduation projects from the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. These projects have the challenging application of new technologies as a starting point. Among researchers in the faculty is a strong belief that human needs and possibilities are leading as a starting point for the development of really new products. Everyday reality shows however that technical innovations still are the main driving forces for new products or systems. Fuel cells or hybrid power trains are examples of technology, stimulating our students to develop highly interesting prototypes. The results of these projects act as serious stimulators for further development.
This article describes the design, development & research build process of a new generation of shell roof structures for architecture. The result marks a new era, the renaissance of the shell structures, once popular in architecture in the 1960's, but disappeared since. Liquid Design Architecture enhances a more free and complex geometry of buildings. The main attention in this contribution is given to the ‘free form’ roofs of the Rabin Center in Tel Aviv (architect Moshe Safdie). The principle idea was initated in discussions with colleagues from aeronautic and yacht design. The subsequent process of design & engineering, made use of state-of-the-art design and engineering computer programmes, but relied even more on the ‘out of the box’ abilities and imagination of the technical designers. The production stage was greatly assisted by the transfer of technology from yachting industry, although the architectural application, mainly in its size, but also in transport, shipment and assembly had to be developed further on the building industry's level of technology and pricing.
The development owes much to the interdisciplinary design vocabulary from the different designing faculties at the Delft University of Technology. Professors Adriaan Beukers and Michiel van Tooren became involved and gave a second opinion to the client on the developed sandwich composite technology. After four years of hard labour, great risks on many frontiers and engineering and production experimentation a new generation of shell structures is born, giving possibilities for other wild architectural ideas like the Mediateque in Pau, France, according to the design of architect Zaha Hadid of London.
This paper gives an overview of the design work being performed in the chair Aerospace for Sustainable Engineering and Technology. The research of the chair is focusing on the themes sustainable energy conversion and sustainable transport. The work of the chair is organized in projects. For both research themes this paper gives an overview of two projects each.
The European shipbuilding industry has been able to survive by focusing on building ‘specials’. In order to maintain this position, it is an absolute necessity for the European shipbuilding industry to remain innovative. However, it is difficult to realise product innovations in this industry. The series are usually too small, the development time too short and the risks too high. This article will discuss several developments and some measures that should be taken in order to stimulate the realisation of product innovations.
This article describes the basic demands on architectural design such as function, aesthetic and technology with a focus on how to integrate the different disciples in the design process. One solution is the “integrated design” where the design team develops the design in collaboration and comes to mutual conclusions. This method is described on the basis of two projects where the author was responsible for the design and the planning process. Lastly this paper discusses a vision for future developments of the design process with a focus on value orientated results.
Structures for the production of oil and gas placed in relatively shallow offshore waters are generally fixed structures which are piled to the seafloor. With increasing water depths these structures tend to become more sensitive to dynamic response and fatigue. When entering water depths exceeding approximately 300 meters these conventional fixed platforms are generally not capable to cope with the offshore environment and being replaced by floating platforms. As under certain functional design considerations bottom founded platforms may be preferred over floating platforms the industry developed the so called ‘compliant tower’: a bottom founded platform capable of carrying topside loads up to 30,000 t in water depths ranging from 300 meters to approximately 500 meters. This paper describes the basics of conventional bottom founded fixed platform design followed by the fascinating design and installation aspects of compliant towers and will conclude with the challenging statement that, contrary to the belief of many in the industry, under certain conditions conventional fixed bottom founded platforms may be feasible in water depths up 400m.
Design oriented faculties of the TU Delft today partly gain new knowledge by advanced product development, next to regular research. The “Research by Design” approach enables the answering of research questions that otherwise would be difficult to deal with: in addition to disciplinary problem solution and simulation models, the integration of multiple elements in an advanced, real product design indicates if and under what circumstances user benefits can be realized.
The role of the industrial designer consists here in fostering the transition of the potentialities of new principles and technologies to superior product functionalities.
In the SoftMob program of the Delft Design Institute and the section Design for Sustainability of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, this approach is being applied on problems and opportunities in the transport area. Particularly, the question has been raised (1) if and how new inter-modal, soft mobility product concepts can contribute to more sustainable transport systems of the future; and (2) how these concepts could be embedded in economically sound service systems.
The paper describes the background of the SoftMob program as well as the lessons learnt from quite a number of previous studies and designs. From market research it was found that an emerging need exists from commuters for a small portable device, like the folding bike, but with more comfort and auto-propulsion. Therefore, the Link concept has been developed, a foldable small scooter ready for electrical assistance and/or an advanced battery system or a small hydrogen fuel cell.
In order to be able to build the Link, extensive studies had to be undertaken in the areas of novel materials, fuel cells, new battery development, energy management etc. Furthermore, a network of companies, design practitioners and experts has been established. Only via the design of a prototype the research question could be answered if and how these new technologies and principles could be integrated in a product with superior characteristics. Although further testing is needed and niche experiments should give more definite answers, Link is considered to be a feasible and attractive new concept.
Implementation is foreseen in Friesland, where the conditions for introduction of Link in a future, sustainable transport system are favourable. Besides, the project fostered the knowledge building on new materials, emerging energy technologies and comfort. By systematically applying a variety of industrial design methods and tools, additional valuable new insights on development methodology could be gained.
The positive experiences with the SoftMob program and the Link concept in particular have confirmed the Delft Design Institute and the Design for Sustainability program' management decision to continue their parallel research and design quest aimed at deepening and integrating design knowledge and creating solutions for societal –sustainable mobility– problems at the same time.
The conceptual design of complex products may be improved by applying knowledge available in existing designs (analogues), pre-defined components (parametric models), and functional models (rules). To represent and re-use this knowledge, AI techniques may be applied such as Case-Based Reasoning (CBR), Constraint-Based Modeling (CBM) and Rule-Based Reasoning (RBR). Case-Based Reasoning indexes a database with existing products with known performance characteristics, to suggest a first prototype solution that fits the requirements. The prototype can then be modelled and dimensioned with Constraint-Based Modeling, and its performance be verified with a network of functional relations derived by Rule-Based Reasoning and optimized with a numeric solver. In this way a first design concept can be quickly generated and evaluated as a first step towards a more elaborated design.
Bos & Lommer is a district in the west of Amsterdam. The spatial plan for Bos & Lommer was based on the General Extension Plan (Algemeen Uitbreidingsplan /AUP), which was designed by Van Eesteren in 1935. In the 1960s this plan was seriously impaired by the E10 motorway, which cut the area in two, leaving it without a heart – until 2004, when it was reunited by a complex of buildings constructed on viaducts. The new centre, consisting of the district office, 96 apartments, a few dozen businesses and shops, a two-storey parking lot with capacity for more than 500 cars, and a market place, was completed in the same year. Less than two years later, in July 2006, this whole multifunctional complex had to be urgently cleared, because its safety could not be guaranteed. Serious cracks had appeared in the parking deck – so serious that it caved in under the weight of a beer lorry. Further investigations exposed even more design and construction errors.
The residents had to wait until Christmas 2006 before they could return to their homes. In the meantime, some additional and costly operations had to be carried out. The shops and businesses re-opened in January 2007.
On 20 July 2006, Amsterdam's mayor, Job Cohen, set up an Investigatory Commission consisting of former housing minister Margreeth de Boer (Chair), Lex Michiels (Professor of Public Law, Tilburg University) and the author. This Commission published its final report on 15 January 2007.
The remit of the Bos & Lommer Commission was to establish the course of the decision-making on the complex since 1990, to ascertain how the responsibilities were allocated and to identify the causes of the errors. The emphasis had to rest on the ‘safety’ aspects and on ways of preventing similar situations in the future.
The investigations revealed that the planning and realisation of the Bos & Lommer complex were anything but exceptional. What happened there could have happened anywhere in the Netherlands and elsewhere. So, some important lessons can be learned from this case. This paper traces the causes of this new planning disaster and try to specify guidelines for designing and building complex projects, based on an operational risk analysis, introducing more quality management in the contributions of each participant and strengthening the system responsibilities for the whole project. There is certainly scope for a better integration of design and building construction, to improve the construction safety of complex building projects.
Innovation models should give insight into the success and failure of generating new business. Considering the high degree of complexity, it is proposed to view such models at different levels of abstraction. It is also proposed to make feedback an essential property of the process model. The result of this new line of thinking is an integrated environment for the creation of new business. In this multilayer environment, innovation is positioned as the interconnecting activity between the development of new technology and the provision for unsatisfied needs, and the involved process model is represented by a circle of change. In this circle of change, creative design plays a dominant role.
Networked infrastructures are complex socio-technical systems. The complexity shows in the physical networks, in the actor networks, and in their combination. This paper addresses the question how these systems should be designed. For the physical networks as well as the actor networks, design processes exist that could be applied separately. However, for these integrated networks an integrated approach is proposed. Three cases studies of designs are discussed concerning a district heating system, a gas network and a seaport development. The studies lead to the conclusion that an integrated socio-technical complex system design process must be applied.
Development, construction and operation of buildings and structures are associated with disproportional consumption of energy, production of waste, emission of CO2 and transportation of materials. The first reason is the fragmented supply chain in the construction industry, that leads to sub-optimal buildings. The second reason is that buildings are built for long lifetime, where the world inside and around the buildings changes faster and faster. This also leads to suboptimal buildings. The third reason is that buildings are built as monoliths. All components are welded, poured, glued, sealed and cemented. This makes the building hard to change. These changes however are necessary to keep the building fit for use and up to date. The Living Building Concept is a business model for a more sustainable building industry. It is a business model which concentrates on the lifecycle of components and elements of buildings providing an economy of scale for innovative suppliers. Buildings can easily be kept up to date and fit for use with state of the art technology and in a sustainable way by changing parts and re-using the replaced parts in other buildings and structures. In that way buildings and structures show similarity with living organisms, changing slowly as a whole on the long term but changing fast and easy at cell level on short term. The characteristic “from cradle to grave” thinking of the construction sector then changes in a sustainable “cradle to cradle” thinking with substantial positive effects.
There are only few periods in history in which architecture and urban planning acquired the speed of development they have today. This acceleration of development has to do with fundamental changes in our society. Cultural and economical changes in the framework of globalization and growing international dependencies, technological innovations like the establishment of new traffic and transportation systems, the introduction of automated production methods and robots in industry and the even broader application of information and communication technology in everyday life – all these developments are affecting the cities and city life – while environmental risks at a global scale are forcing us to consider the sustainability of our technologies, our life styles and our behavior.
At the same time, in designing our environment we are confronted with an unprecedented abundance of forms and possibilities, enlarged even further by the possibilities offered by the computer. We are being forced to learn, sometimes with great difficulties, to control this abundance and to restore it to a (more or less) consistent language.
The challenges of urban transformation no longer can be faced by analytical or regulative approaches (if they ever have been faced in that way). Conceptual thinking – design thinking – is necessary not only to make a plan, but even more to understand future opportunities and threatens. In this respect – maybe more than in the past – the process of design has become a process of exploration, a process of researching new spatial possibilities and investigating new methodological approaches. This process we could call research by design. In this article I will discuss the demands for research by design against the background of fundamental changes in the practice of designing the built environment.