The investigation of a computer-aided technique for the solution to the space allocation problem
Rowe, Peter Grimmond
Master of Architecture
A general class of problems which frequently arises in the course of architectural and planning design activity is the development of an appropriate configuration of spaces in proper functional relationship to each other. This is referred to as the space allocation problem. The initial statement of such a problem generally occurs during the programming phase of the design activity and is most often able to be expressed in the form of a set of simple verbal statements. These are descriptions of the proximal nature of the relationship between a set of spatial units and can be said to fully describe certain major locational requirements of a specific design problem. The solution to such a problem must maximize the satisfaction of these locational requirements and be capable of being expressed by means of an appropriate graphic representation to allow further information processing. This paper proposes an alternative approach to the solution of this general class of problems than has been traditional, utilizing a computer-aided technique. The problem is first formulated in a precise form suitable for systematic information processing. A general strategy by which this problem can be optimally resolved is outlined and the computer program involved, CAPLAN, presented and described in detail. This solution strategy basically involves the use of a specially developed cluster-seeking algorithm with a graphic output capability. Several representative and easily interpretable case studies are developed to further describe the application of this specific technique in the solution of the space allocation problem. Some experimental validation of the technique is presented in support of the efficacy of the approach. The investigation shows that this particular technique performs all the necessary supportive-analysis for solution of the space allocation problem, as stated, in a manner which is deterministic and readily interpreted.