SSIEA: A hybrid evolutionary algorithm for supporting conceptual architectural design

Likai Wang, Patrick Janssen, Guohua Ji*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Significant research has been undertaken focusing on the application of evolutionary algorithms for design exploration at conceptual design stages. However, standard evolutionary algorithms are typically not well-suited to supporting such optimization-based design exploration due to the lack of design diversity in the optimization result and the poor search efficiency in discovering high-performing design solutions. In order to address the two weaknesses, this paper proposes a hybrid evolutionary algorithm, called steady-stage island evolutionary algorithm (SSIEA). The implementation of SSIEA integrates an island model approach and a steady-state replacement strategy with an evolutionary algorithm. The combination aims to produce optimization results with rich design diversity while achieving significant fitness progress in a reasonable amount of time. Moreover, the use of the island model approach allows for an implicit clustering of the design population during the optimization process, which helps architects explore different alternative design directions. The performance of SSIEA is compared against other optimization algorithms using two case studies. The result shows that, in contrast to the other algorithms, SSIEA is capable of achieving a good compromise between design diversity and search efficiency. The case studies also demonstrate how SSIEA can support conceptual design exploration. For architects, the optimization results with diverse and high-performing solutions stimulate richer reflection and ideation, rendering SSIEA a helpful tool for conceptual design exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-476
Number of pages19
JournalArtificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing: AIEDAM
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Conceptual architectural design
  • evolutionary algorithms
  • island models
  • optimization-based exploration
  • steady-state replacement strategies


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