Synthesis of chaos theory & design

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


The design implications of chaos theory are explored. What does this theory mean, if anything, to landscape architecture or architecture?

In order to investigate these questions, the research was divided into four components relevant to design. First, philosophical- chaos offers a nonlinear understanding about place and nature. Second, aesthetical-fractals describe a deep beauty and order in nature. Thirdly, modeling-it is a qualitative method of modeling natural processes. Lastly, managing- concepts of chaos theory can be exploited to mimic processes found in nature. These components draw from applications and selected literature of chaos theory.

From these research components, design implications were organized and concluded. Philosophical implications, offer a different, nonlinear realization about nature for designers. Aesthetic conclusions, argue that fractal geometry can articulate an innate beauty (a scaling phenomenon) in nature. Modeling, discusses ways of using chaos theory to visualize the design process, a process which may be most resilient when it is nonlinear. The last research chapter, managing, applications of chaos theory are used to illustrate how complex form, like that in nature, can be created by designers.