Computational Design in Architecture, 15th National Symposium , İstanbul, Turkey, 28 - 29 June 2021, pp.343-353
The early stages of architectural design involve ambiguity in representing design ideas, problem definition, and design goals. A large number of different types of data are expected from designers to be fused. Digital design tools and environments provide opportunities for many design inputs to be visualized, processed, superimposed and evaluated in a short time. However, the studies on utilizing Mixed Reality (MR) technologies in the early stages of design are still remained limited. In other words, while the rapid development and spread of MR technology attracts the attention of researchers in the field of architecture, the use of MR technologies in the early stages of architectural design does not follow a similar acceleration. In this context, this study investigates the use of MR technologies in the early stages of architectural design concerning the potential effects of these technologies on the cognitive load of designers. In the scope of the study, an MR based hybrid design environment has been developed and introduced by authors. An experiment set has been proposed to evaluate the developed design medium with a particular focus on questions such as what potentials the design medium created by using MR technology has in the early phase of architectural design, the possible effect of the proposed medium on the cognitive load of the designers, and whether the proposed medium might support the design process. The experiment setup consists of a horizontal plane where the physical model and the digital model can take place simultaneously, the head-mounted glasses as a display layer and a control device that can be used manually. The materials of the physical model consist of spherical joint elements and linear rod elements. Digital copies of these elements were also created as assets in the MR application based on their geometric constraints. In the scope of the design problem of the experiment, the area is currently used as a bus terminal and is located among the tall buildings parallel to Büyükdere Street in Istanbul Levent region was given. The participants were expected to develop design ideas on office design in 30 minutes in the given area. The MR-based application proposal was evaluated using the expert evaluation method, employing the 10 rules of Nielsen (2005) and the golden rules of Shneiderman (2010). In addition, the experts were also asked to elaborate on the issues they found positive and negative about the medium they used during and after the design process. The findings of the expert evaluation indicate that the MR medium does not increase cognitive load of designers in the early stages of the architectural design process in which designers explore complex geometric compositions in terms of form-finding with limited materials.