Cognitive comparison of using hand sketching and parametric tools in the conceptual design phase
With the advancements in the digital design tools, designers have been provided with new methods and tools, which lead them to new ways of thinking. The speed and impact of the use of digital tools in architectural design have increased at an astonishing rate in the last decade. However, the use of such tools in the initial stages of design, the concept generation phase for instance, still seems to be under the influence of hand sketching. The potentials, affects and the evaluations of the use of digital tools in the early phases of design remain to be investigated. This thesis aims at examining the potentials of using parametric design tools in the conceptual design phase in comparison to hand sketching. It is intended to find out and evaluate the impacts of using parametric design tools on the cognitive behaviors of the designers, as well as assessing the satisfaction of the designers in using parametric tools in the early stages of design. Within this framework, an experimental study was conducted with three inexperienced and three experienced graduate architecture students using Grasshopper as the parametric design tool. A content-oriented coding scheme was used together with protocol analyses to collect the data. As a result of the research, significant differences were found between cognitive behaviors of the participants in using hand sketching and Grasshopper. Additionally, the findings show that all of the participants consider Grasshopper as a useful and important conceptual design tool. In line with these findings, this thesis suggests parametric modeling tools to be used more effectively in the architectural conceptual design phase.