A Framework for the Utilization of CFD in the Early Stages of Architectural Design

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Virginia Tech


Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) refers to numerical methods for simulating the movement of fluid. Due to its efficiency, CFD has been widely used in aerospace engineering and automotive design since the 1970s. It also has potential in architectural design since airflow has been an important player in the design process. However, the CFD users in the building industry tend to be limited to researchers and engineers rather than architectural designers due to the complexity of the simulations including the extensive knowledge required for the processing. The benefit of using CFD would be maximized through its early application by architectural designers since the key design decisions are made in the early stages. In response to this, simulation tools specialized for the early stages of architectural design are developed recently, which offer more user-friendly interfaces. Within this context, the present study aimed to introduce and test the simulation tools for the early stages of design and establish a framework for supporting architectural designers to utilize CFD. Under this objective, a mixed-method approach was employed that includes quantitative and qualitative assessments of simulation tools, development of a knowledge set that can help the users to understand the simulation processes and results, an immersive case study for structuring the procedural model, and a Delphi method for evaluating and reaching a consensus on the proposed framework.



Architectural design, CFD, Airflow, Building Performance Simulation, Framework