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A Conflict Management Model for Architectural Design Collaboration


Until recently the design of a building was carried out only by an architect. The architect maintained enough knowledge of buildings, in addition to knowledge of the social, religious and other aspects of his society, that allowed him to complete a building design. The entire building project was his sole creation.

However, the design of buildings today is no longer a one-person operation, because the complexity of a large-scale design and construction exceeds the capacity of any single human's abilities. As we introduce new technologies, materials, and methodologies into building design, we draw on more and more knowledge from disciplines other than architecture and structural engineering. Designing buildings has become an exercise of multi-disciplinary teamwork.

Multi-disciplinary collaboration is a complex task. It is especially difficult when design solutions need to be shared and evaluated by participants who represent different professional views of the project. A design solution generated by one participant may satisfy certain requirements and evaluation criteria, but might be contradictory to the goals or values of another participant. The differences signify the domain-expertise each discipline possesses, which is why they were assembled for the purposes of completing the project in the first place. Conflicts among these participants are inevitable, and must be resolved to reach a comprehensive design solution.

This dissertation presents a comprehensive approach to negotiation and conflict management in architectural and building design. A primary objective of this research is to define conflict and provide analysis and understanding of its nature. Another objective is to develop a computational model of conflict management and negotiation strategies. To these ends, I developed SWAY a conceptual model that provides a set of conflict resolution algorithms that deal with situations and patterns of a conflict. The model allows designers from various disciplines to avoid conflict if possible and deal with inevitable conflicts in manners that improve the overall quality of the design. The dissertation also aims at enhancing the collaboration process among participants, which result in improving design quality and minimizing delays expenses.

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