In M.-A. Cardin, D. Krob, P. C. Lui, Y. H. Tan, and K. Wood (Eds.), Complex Systems Design & Management Asia (2015), 27–39, Springer
Alberto Costa, Giacomo Nannicini, Thomas Schroepfer, and Thomas Wortmann
This paper deals with an application of optimization in architectural design. Formally, we consider the problem of optimizing a function that can only be evaluated through an expensive oracle. We assume that the analytical expression of the function is unknown and first-order information is not available. This situation frequently occurs when each function evaluation relies on the output of a complex and time-consuming simulation. In the literature, this is called a black-box optimization problem with costly evaluation. This paper presents a black-box problem from architectural design: we aim to find the values of the design variables that yield optimal lighting conditions inside a building. The building facade is described as a parametric model whose parameters are the design variables. We tackle this problem by adapting the Radial Basis Function (RBF) method originally proposed by Gutmann (2001). Experiments indicate that our open-source implementation is competitive with commercial software for black-box optimization, and that it can be a valuable decision-support tool for complex problems requiring time-consuming simulations. The usefulness of this approach goes beyond the specific application in architectural design.