This thesis explores multi-agent systems for conceptual design development – for generating circulation diagrams. Besides studying several known models in the architectural and urban design context, a few novel ones are proposed. Instead of looking at existing urban and architectural theory, the source of inspiration for building circulation models comes from processes found in nature where the movement based on local navigational decisions lead to the emergence of highly complex and adaptable networks. Following the synthetic modelling approach, it is argued that studying and building simple agent based models creates in-depth knowledge about underlying principles of network development processes and allows one to gradually move towards building more sophisticated models. Once the principles of generating circulation systems are well understood, one can use these for creative purposes in
designing circulation in buildings and settlements.
The main aim of the thesis is to develop and expose generative methods for the early stages of the design process. By investigating the ways of building, validating and controlling generative models, it is demonstrated how these models can be integrated into the design work flow.
Thesis includes two case studies where agent based modelling is used in the context of architectural competitions.