Ontological modelling of form and function for architectural design
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Form, function and the relationship between the two serve a crucial role in design. Within architectural design, key aspects of the anticipated function of buildings, or of spatial environments in general, are supposed to be supported by their structural form, i.e., their shape, layout, or connectivity. Whereas the philosophy of form and function is a well-researched topic, the practical relations and dependencies between form and function are only known implicitly by designers and architects. Specifically, the formal modelling of structural forms and resulting artefactual functions within design and design assistance systems remains elusive.In our work, we aim at making these definitions explicit by ontologically modelling respective domain entities, their properties and related constraints. We interpret “structural form” and “artefactual function” by specifying modular ontologies and their interplay for the architectural design domain. A key aspect in our modelling approach is the use of formal conceptual requirements and qualitative spatial calculi as a link between the structural form of a design and the differing functional capabilities that it affords or leads to. We demonstrate how our ontological modelling reflects types of architectural form and function, and how it facilitates the conceptual modelling of requirement constraints in architectural design.