Generative and Evolutionary Design Exploration

AIEDAM Special Issue, Fall 2015, Vol.29, No.4

Guest Editors: Rudi Stouffs and Yaqub Rafiq

Generative and Evolutionary Design Exploration intends to reflect on the interaction between design exploration and evolutionary design optimisation.

Expert designers, both architects and engineers, typically display a strategy of exploring design alternatives, albeit a relatively small number. Expert architects’ strategy in problem solving has been denoted breadth first, depth next; in comparison to novices, who typically display less breadth of exploration. While engineers’ strategy is markedly different, design alternatives play a role as importantly, if not more. Where designers typically consider a very small number of alternatives in their work, this can be explained by cognitive limits, opening the door for computational support of design exploration. In particular, It has been argued that exploration is a compelling model for designer action and that designers benefit from tools that amplify their abilities to represent goals and problems spaces, and to search for designs.

Generative and evolutionary methods have proven to be strong catalysts for design exploration and design optimisation has served as a means to assist in this exploration. Recently there is a marked move towards using optimisation to aid exploration. Optimisation is rarely intended to yield an optimal solution per se, instead assisting in gaining insight in the solution space, thereby reducing the size of the solution space for exploration, possibly focusing attention towards the Pareto boundary. Even at the Pareto boundary there are a large number of solutions worthy of further exploration. Hand in hand, exploration and optimisation lead to a better understanding of the complexities of design issues and help designers in their decision-making process, especially with multi-objectives problems, which is a nature of many design problems. As such, the focus of attention in generative and evolutionary design is shifting from the techniques themselves, and their direct application, to the way we are using these techniques to assist and improve the design and engineering process.

We might frame generative and evolutionary design from the point of view of a “conversation”; nothing uncommon for generative design, though it is for optimisation. This type of conversation is between the designer (or design team) and the computer, and is digitally enhanced. As such, the aim is less on optimisation per se and more on exploration—the results from optimisation are about changing one’s way of thinking more than choosing a single design and then realizing it. We can then ask the question of how these types of conversation can unfold—how do they start and where do they end? What to do with thousands of similar solutions?

We invite submissions that address generative and evolutionary design exploration and contribute to the discussion of the interaction between design exploration and evolutionary design optimisation.

Information about the format and style required for AIEDAM papers can be found at

However, note that all inquiries for special issues go to the Guest Editors, and not to the Editor in Chief.

Please submit your paper through ScholarOne system online at: Your need to create an user account first if you are a new user. During your submission process, pay attention to the following two steps:

  • On Step 1 (Type, title & abstract): Select "Yes" for the "Special Issue" question.
  • On Step 5 (Details & comments): Select "Design of Complex Engineered Systems - Vol.28/4" for "Special Issue Name".
Important dates:
Intend to submit (Title & Abstract):As soon as possible
Submission deadline for full papers:1 October 2014 <<< New deadline!
Reviews due:15 December 2014
Notification and reviews due to authors:15 January 2015
Revised version submission deadline:16 March 2015
Issue to Publisher:1 June 2015
Issue Appears:Fall 2015
Guest editors:
Dr. Rudi StouffsDr. Yaqub Rafiq
Department of Building TechnologySchool of Marine Science and Engineering
Faculty of ArchitectureFaculty of Science & Environment
Delft University of TechnologyPlymouth University
2600 GA Delft, The NetherlandsRm 21, Reynolds, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA, UK
Email: r.m.f.stouffs @ tudelft.nlEmail: m.rafiq @