Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The recent revolution in digital design tools is having a sea-change effect on the way buildings are designed. As the design process becomes increasingly automated, the focus of architectural expertise is shifting from the execution of drawings to the parametric definition of space and form. In other words, the architect will define a complex set of rules that, when entered into a program, create a building. This design process, coupled with digital fabrication, allows for control of the final product in ways that were previously impossible for designers. However, there is still much to learn about the ways these new tools can be integrated into the architectural design and construction process, and their effect on that process. This thesis proposes that there are five levels of parametric design, varying in level of integration and complexity. The three most complex and visionary levels of integration were tested in three full-scale design-build projects to explore the ramifications of a computational process on design. A freestanding lamp, a chair for a teacher and a barn for two donkeys were designed using parametric tools at three levels of integration. Throughout each project, particular attention was paid to the steps in the design process, the effect of parametric integration on designer agency, and the role of labor in design and construction.

First Advisor

Kathleen Lugosch

Second Advisor

Caryn Brause