Benachir Medjdoub

Benachir Medjdoub

Professor

School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

Role

Benachir's role involves:

  • managing  the Creative and Virtual Technologies Research Lab
  • securing external funding
  • teaching digital architectural design at undergraduate and postgraduate level
  • contributing to curriculum development
  • contributing to the marketing and external relations strategy of the School and College.

Career overview

Benachir is a qualified architect with several years of experience in practice and Professor of Digital Architectural Design. Previous appointments include a research position at Ecole Centrale de Paris, a research position at the University of Cambridge, a lectureship at the University of Nottingham and a readership at the University of Salford.

Research areas

Benachir's research goals are directed towards a greater understanding of the human intelligence involved in the design process of our buildings and cities; developing novel generative design models and visualisation tools and systems with the aim to supporting the design of more economically viable and energy efficient buildings that simultaneously meet occupant expectations.

Benachir has secured and completed several research grants funded by industry and the EPSRC and has collaborated with key research institutions and organisations including: ATKINS, KPF, PLP Architecture, VTT, Foster and Partners, AEcom, Buro Happold, Bentley Systems, Autodesk, University of Cambridge, University of Cardiff, University of Nottingham, University of Bath, Ecole Centrale de Paris, TU Delft, and ETH Zurich amongst others. Over the years, he has supervised undergraduate and postgraduate research students at Master and PhD level.

Completed funded research projects include:

Project funded by The EPSRC
Title:
Adaptive Multi-Objective Heuristic and Meta-heuristic Approaches to Space Allocation
Project Funding: £ 205,378
Role: Co-investigator
Partners:
the University of Nottingham (Computer Science department: Prof Edmund Burke), Real Time Solutions Ltd
Date:
April 2005 – October 2009
This project exploited recent research advances in decision support technology which have opened up a range of exciting and ambitious research directions in the area of space allocation and layout within educational buildings. This is a particularly important area, with high impact, as the educational sector increasingly seeks to gain efficiency improvements. Some space allocation problems within educational institutions are relatively standard deterministic optimisation problems with a known objective function. They represent tasks such as the immediate allocation of events to rooms, or people to offices. However, under the influence of the requirements expressed by Real Time Solutions Ltd, the focus of this project was upon educational space planning. That is, the task of designing teaching space facilities (such as lecture halls and seminar rooms), with a view to their operational efficacy over the lifetime of the building. This problem had not previously been well-defined and so a significant challenge, and success, was to develop a suitable framework under which to evaluate a space plan. The resulting framework was based on the ideas of phase transitions and the exploitation of statistical reliability of a plan. The framework was exploited to study the multi-objective aspects of the space planning problem and to develop an understanding of the computational difficulties of developing better space plans.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership funded by Faber and Maunsell (AECOM) and DTI
Title: Design optimisation of the central core of tall buildings
Project Funding: £50,000
Role:
Principal investigator
Date: June 2006 – May 2007

The objective of this project was to develop a software application to automate building services design while minimising the surface area of the central core of tall buildings. In this application we have used cutting-edge artificial intelligence / optimization techniques such as constraint programming technology.

Project funded by the University of Nottingham
Title:
Mobile Device for an Augmented Reality System in Architecture: Emerging Spatial and Perceptive Experiences in Architectural Design
Project Funding: £30 000
Role:
Principal investigator
Date:
April 2004 – March 2005

This project aimed to develop a mobile system for an outdoor augmented reality system in architecture to explore the emerging Spatial and perceptive experiences in architectural Design. Thus, in a real context of a construction site, a mobile augmented visualization system for clients / designers / or any other stakeholder has been developed using GPS location tracking of augmented 3D models.

Project funded by the EPSRC
Title: Toward quantitative aerial thermal infrared thermography for energy conservation in the built environment
Project Funding:
£60,000
Role:
Principal investigator
Partner: City of Nottingham (Nottingham Energy partnership)
Date: September 2003 – August 2006

The UK Home Energy Conservation Act puts a duty on local authorities to develop strategies to improve energy efficiency in all public and private sector housing in order to tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The City of Nottingham, UK turned to aerial Thermal InfraRed Thermography (TIRT) to try and identify households where energy savings can be made. In this project, the limitations of aerial TIRT have been explained for energy conservation in the built environment and the techniques required to overcome them have been defined.

This includes the range of suitable meteorological conditions at the time of the survey, the use of ground truth data, the need to account for all radiation paths and losses when calculating roof surface temperature and the assumptions that must be made when calculating insulation levels.

Project funded by the EPSRC
Title:
Building Services Standard Solutions Implemented in CAD: Design of Ceiling Void Solutions
Project Funding: £52,148
Role:
Principal investigator
Partners: Bentley Systems, Faber and Maunsell (AECOM), Biddle Air Systems
Date:
September 2002 – August 2005

This project utilised and built on the results from the previous project "Building Services Standard Solutions implemented in CAD" funded by EPSRC / DETR to make the ceiling mounted fan coil solution useable for more complex geometry and to improve interactivity. This has brought benefits in terms of increasing the range of design applications for which the solutions can be used and has improved the usability.

The extension to deal with more complex geometry has been based on hybrid approach combining case-based reasoning and constraint-based techniques. Very often, design engineers use previous solutions and adapt them to new problems. Case-Based Reasoning mirrors this practical approach and did help us to deal effectively with increasingly complex geometry. Our approach combines automation and interactivity.

From the 3D specification of the building, our software prototype proceeds through two main steps. First the zone fan coil and diffuser arrangements are generated, using case-based reasoning approach with the benefit of using previous solutions and adapt them to the new problem and the possibility to solve large buildings models. The second step generates the distribution routes, using constraint programming technique which has shown its robustness to solve combinatorial problems. The 3D fan coil solution can be modified or improved by the designer, when we are providing further contribution by concentrating on interactivity.

Project funded by the EPSRC under the LINK Meeting Client Needs through Standardisation programme. EPSRC funding is worth £86,000, DETR funding is worth £103,000 and the industry contribution is worth £215,000 (cash).
Title: Building Services Standard Solutions Implemented in CAD
Project Funding:
£400,000
Role:
Lead researcher
Partners:
Bentley Systems, Faber and Maunsell (AECOM), Biddle Air Systems, Taywood Engineering, BSRIA, the Steel Construction Institute, Sainsburys, Sheppard Robson, Carrier, Philips Lighting, Johnsons Controls and IES Facet.
Date:
December 1998 – November 2000

In this project, object-based parametric CAD programming has been used to take advantage of standardisation to handle the schematic design, sizing, layout and (potentially) pipe-routing for LPHW (Low Pressure Hot Water) plant rooms in buildings. From a simple specification of the plant room geometry and the heating load in kw, our software prototype proceeds through a number of steps.

First the standard number and size of modular boilers, pumps etc. is determined from the heat load. Then a compatible optimising 3D parametric solution is generated, using Constraint Logic Programming. This approach is highly interactive. Modifying the topology of the solution is done directly through the graphic interface, e.g. modifying a boiler position is done by dragging; the system automatically updates the 3D model including the pipe-routing while maintaining all the constraints, and hence the validity of the design.

Project funded by Informatix ltd, Japan.
Title:
Constraint-based Parametric Sketching tool in Architectural Design
Project Funding: £75,000
Role:
Lead researcher
Date:
October 1997 – December 1998

In this project 2D Constraint-Based Geometric Construction System has been developed where positioning and manipulating geometry is very precise. An unusually simple interface makes this system particularly interactive and easy to use. In this system, the geometry types supported are: points, lines, circles, ellipses, circular arcs and b-spline curves. All the fundamental topological constraints, i.e. tangent, parallel, perpendicular, coincident and concentric, are provided. Metric constraints, i.e. dividing the shapes into equal parts or fixing the geometric parameters, are also provided.

These constraints are automatically applied by the application in response to the implied intentions of the end-user. Dynamic modifications of partially dimensioned models are supported, whereby the design is modified while enforcing the constraints. A graph-constructive approach is used to solve the model. As we are dealing with partial modifications, this resolution technique is quite sufficient, and makes the system stable and flexible.

This approach focuses highly on interactivity. Positioning a shape constrained to another is made directly through the graphic interface. Constraint relaxation is also done by direct manipulations. Modifications are made by dragging the geometry, or by typing into a numerical panel displaying the free shape parameters. Again, existing constraints are maintained as those numbers are applied.

Project funded by Ecole Centrale de Paris, France.
Title: A Constraint Programming CAD Approach in Architectural Design: ARCHiPLAN
Project Funding:
£30,000
Role:
Lead researcher
Date: September 1993 – August 1996

In this project we dealt with the problem of space configuration in Architectural design. We have developed an architectural conceptual CAD approach. Starting with design specifications in terms of constraints over spaces, a specific enumeration heuristics leads to a complete set of consistent conceptual design solutions named topological solutions. These topological solutions which do not presume any precise definitive dimension correspond to the sketching step that an architect carries out from the Design specifications on a preliminary design phase in architecture.

Project funded by Electricité De France (EDF), Paris, France.
Title: An Object Oriented Model in Plant Design Management System (PDMS)
Project Funding: £15,000
Role: Lead researcher
Date:
September 1991 – August 1992

In this project an object oriented model to describe the architectural and civil engineering objects have been developed and implemented as a part of the CAD software PDMS (Plant design management system)

External activity

  • Since 2010: External Examiner MArch, University of Nottingham.
  • PhD and MPhil External Examiner, University of Nottingham, University of Bath, University of Cardiff, Ecole d'Architecture Superieure de Paris La Villette, Centre Henry Tudor Luxembourg, University of Loughborough.
  • Invited speaker at the University of Cambridge,  Ecole d'Architecture Superieure de Paris La Villette, Ecole Centrale de Paris, Politecnico di Torino, Bentley User Conference.
  • Invited referee to: Architectural Research Quarterly International journal, Automation in construction Journal, ITCon journal, International Journal of Urban Design, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design Analysis and Manufacturing Journal.
  • Member of the reviewing committee of several international conference: ECAADE 2012, eSMART, 3rd International Conference on Computer Graphics Theory and Applications, AI in Design.
  • Co-chair of the Mediated Intelligence in Design Symposium, Salford, UK (May 2009).
  • Independent referee to the EPSRC and AHRC for Research Grant awards.

Sponsors and collaborators

  • Bentley Systems
  • AECom
  • Biddle Air Systems
  • Nottingham Energy Partnership
  • SmartGeometry group
  • Burro Happold
  • PLP Architecture

Publications

Full list of publications can be found by clicking on 'go to publications' link above.

Selected publications:

VELIZ, A., MEDJDOUB, M. and KOCATURK, T., 2011. Bridging the Gap in Constraint-Based Design. In LECLERCQ, P., HEYLIGHEN, A. and MARTIN, G., (eds) 2011, Computer Aided Architectural Design Futures, ISBN 9782874561429

BUABBAS, H., MEDJDOUB, B. and REZGUI, Y., 2010. Hidden Part in the History of the School Library in Kuwait, Library Review Journal, Vol. 59 (6), p.401-413 (DOI: 10.1108/00242531011053922) ISSN 0024-2535

MEDJDOUB, B., 2009. Constraint-based Adaptation for Complex Space Configuration in Building Services, ITCon Journal, Vol. 243/2007, pp.627-636

MEDJDOUB, B., 2009. Generation of variational plant room design, The Fourth European Conference on Intelligent Management Systems in Operations (IMSIO 4), Salford, UK, 7-8 July 2009

Book

1. Medjdoub, B., "Une approche CAO basée sur les contraintes", Les Éditions universitaires européennes. (ISBN: 9786131531583), 176p, 2011.

Edited book

2. Kocaturk, B. and Medjdoub, B., "Distributed Intelligence in Design", John Wiley & Sons, ISBN: 978-1-4443-3338-1, 2011.

Journal articles and Chapter in Edited Books

3. Medjdoub B. "Programming Architecture: Paul Coates' book review", in Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines Journal. (to appear, accepted for publication)
4. Hesselgren L. and Medjdoub B., "Interview with Lars Hesselgren, Director PLP Research", In "Distributed Intelligence in Design", John Wiley & Sons, p.247-251, 2011.
5. Kocaturk T. and Medjdoub B., "Introduction: Distributed intelligence in design", In "Distributed Intelligence in Design", John Wiley & Sons, p.xii-xiv, 2011.
6. Buabbas H., Medjdoub B. and Rezgui Y., "Hidden Part in the History of the School Library in Kuwait", in Library Review journal 59(6), p.401-413, 2010 .
7. Medjdoub B., "Constraint-based Adaptation for Complex Space Configuration in Building services", In ITCon Journal, Volume 243/2007, p.627-636, 2009.
8. Rezgui Y. and Medjdoub B., "A Service Infrastructure to Support Ubiquitous Engineering Practices", In Establishing The Foundation Of Collaborative Networks, Springer Verlag, Volume 243/2007, p.627-636, 2007.
9. Samant S. and Medjdoub B., "Comparison between different methods for calculating daylight levels in atrium buildings", In Architectural Science Review Journal, 49(2), p. 162-167, 2006.
10. Samant S. and Medjdoub B., "Reflectance distributions and atrium daylight levels: a comparison between physical scale model and Radiance simulated study", International Journal of Low Carbon Technologies (IJLCT). 1(2), p. 177-182, 2006.
11. Bi G. and Medjdoub B., "Hybrid Approach to Solve Space Planning Problems", Design & Decision Support Systems in Architecture and Urban Planning, Kluwer Academic Publishers, p. 247-261, 2004.
12. Medjdoub B., Richens P. and Barnard B. "Generation of Variational Standard Plant Room Solutions". Automation in Construction Journal, 12(2), Elsevier, p. 155-166, 2003.
13. Barnard B., Medjdoub B. and Richens P., "Building Services Standard solutions Implemented in CAD", CIBSE Journal, December 2001.
14. Medjdoub B. and Yannou B., "Dynamic space ordering at a topological level in space planning", Artificial Intelligence in Engineering, 15(1), Elsevier, p. 47-60, 2001.
15. Medjdoub B. and Richens P., "Building Services Standard Solutions: Variational Generation of Plant Room Layouts". Kluwer Academic Publishers, p. 479-493, 2001.
16. Medjdoub B. and Yannou B., "Separating topology and geometry in space planning". Computer Aided Design; 32(1), Elsevier, p. 39-61, 2000.
17. Medjdoub B., "Interactive 2D constraint-based geometric construction system". Kluwer Academic Publishers, p.197-212, 1999.
18. Medjdoub B. and Yannou B., Topological Enumeration Heuristics in Constraint Based Space Layout Planning. Artificial Intelligence in Design, Kluwer Academic Publishers, p. 271-290, 1998.
19. Callet P. and Medjdoub B., "Realistic Rendering in Restoration of Historic Buildings and Ancient Works". Computing in Civil and Building Engineering, A. BALKEMA publisher, 1995.
20. Medjdoub B., "Towards Aid in Preliminary Design in Architecture: ARCHiPLAN". Computing in Civil and Building Engineering, A. BALKEMA publisher, 1995.

Refereed international conferences

21. T. Kocaturk, R. Balbo, B. Medjdoub and A. Veliz, "An Innovative Approach to Technology Mediated Architectural Design Education: A Framework for a Web-Based Socio-Cognitive Eco-system", EcaadE conference, Prague, September 2012.
22. A. Veliz, T, Kocaturk, B. Medjdoub and R. Balbo, "Dialogs Between Physical and Digital Modelling Methods on Architectural Design", EcaadE conference, Prague, September 2012.
23. B. Medjdoub and Serhat KUT, "A Mobile System for an Indoor Augmented Reality in Building Services" isea2011, Istanbul, 2011.
24. Veliz, A., Medjdoub, B., Kocaturk, T. "Visual programming of customizable building components: Review of three academic experiences", In eCAADe,. Ljubljana – Slovenia, September 2011
25. Veliz, A., Medjdoub, B., Kocaturk, T. "Bridging the Gap in Constraint-Based Design", In Computer Aided Architectural Design Future (CAADFuture) International conference, Liege, Belgium, July 2011.
26. Medjdoub B., "Constraint-based adaptation in building space configuration", The Fourth European Conference on Intelligent Management Systems in Operations, IMSIO 4, 2009, July 2009, Salford, UK.
27. Medjdoub B., "Generation of variational plant room design", The Fourth European Conference on Intelligent Management Systems in Operations, IMSIO 4, 2009, July 2009, Salford, UK.2009.
28. El-Habaibeh A., Medjdoub B. and Allison D., "The Application of Infrared Thermography for Energy Conservation in Buildings", CCIM, Dubai, November 2006.
29. Allison D., Medjdoub B. and Wilson R., "Application of Aerial Thermal Infrared Thermography for Energy Conservation in the Built Environment", PLEA conference, Beyrouth, Lebanon, November 2005.
30. Bi G. and Medjdoub B., "hybrid approach to solve space planning problems", Eighth International Conference on The Application of Artificial Intelligence to Civil and Structural Engineering, Rome, September 2005.
31. Allison D., Medjdoub B. and Wilson R., "Toward Quantitative Aerial Thermal Infrared Thermography for Energy Conservation in the Built Environment", Proceedings of SPIE, Thermosense XXVII, G. Raymond Peacock (eds.), Orlando Florida, pp. 133-144, March 2005.
32. Bi G. and Medjdoub B., "Hybrid approach to solve space planning problems in building services", Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Product and Process Modeling in the Building and Construction Industry – ECPPM 2004, Dikbas & Scherer (eds.), September 2004, Istanbul, Turkey.
33. Samant S. and Medjdoub B., "A comparative study between physical scale model and radiance simulated study of daylight levels in an Atrium", 3rd International Conference on sustainable Energy technologies, Nottingham, June 2004.
34. Chavez Chena Y., Wilson R., Medjdoub B. and Lira Cortes L. "A Second Degree Approximation for the Calculation of the Transfer Function Coefficients in Heat Flux through Walls", 3rd International Conference on sustainable Energy technologies, Nottingham, June 2004.
35. Medjdoub B., "Film and Representation in Architecture", Conference: Beyond the Drawing: New Dimensions in Architectural Representation, University of Nottingham, Architecture Week, June 2004.
36. Medjdoub B., Richens P. and Barnard N., "Heating Plant Room Design: A Constraint- Based Approach", eSMART conference, edited by Y. Rezgui, Salford, UK, November 2002.
37. Medjdoub B., Richens P. and Barnard N., "Constraint-Based Plant Room Design", Computer-Based Design Conference, edited by T. M. Shahin, Professional Engineering Publishing, London, p. 579-588, July 2002.
38. Medjdoub B. and Yannou B., "ARCHiPLAN: A New Tool for Conceptual Design in Architecture". Information Technology in Civil and Structural Engineering Design, Kumar publisher, ITCSED'96, Glasgow Scotland, August 1996.
39. Medjdoub B. and Yannou B., "ARCHiPLAN : Un outil de conception fonctionnel en implantation industrielle". IDMME'96, Nantes, April 1996.
40. Medjdoub B. and Maculet R., "Maintient de cohérence par propagation de contraintes dans un système constructif du bâtiment". Table ronde francophone sur les sciences de la conception, 01'DESIGN, Ghamarth, Tunisia, November 1993.
41. Medjdoub B. and Richens P., "Constraint-based Generation of Variational Plant Room", AI in Design, Cambridge, UK, 2002.
42. Medjdoub B., "Gestion et contrôle des modifications dans un système de CAO en Génie Civil". Journée propagation de contraintes, INRIA Sophia Antipolis, December 1992.

Conference papers in education

43. Balbo R., Kocaturk T. and Medjdoub B., "A model for a new approach to architectural education in the digital Era in the UK", EATIA – EAAE/ENSHA International conference Istanbul, June 2010.
44. Medjdoub B., "Virtual Reality in the Design Studio", Conference in Education, University of Nottingham, September 2003.
45. Medjdoub B. et al. "Multi-Disciplinary Teaching in Architecture", Conference in Education, University of Nottingham, September 2002.

Art Work

46. Medjdoub B., "Mixed Reality in Architecture", Showcase of digital films using augmented reality technique, Design for Competitive Advantage Conference, Broadway Cinema, Nottingham, 2006.
47. Medjdoub B., Virtual tour of the Project Life, June 2004. (has been broadcasted in National TV channels)
48. Medjdoub B., "Digital Art in Architecture", Showcase of digital films in architecture, Architecture Week 2003, Art Council, England, June 2003.
49. Medjdoub B. "Augmented Reality and Architectural Communication", Showcase of digital films using augmented reality technique, Design for Competitive Advantage, Broadway Cinema, Nottingham 2003.

Research reports

50. Medjdoub B., "Constraint-Based adaptation in building services design", final EPSRC report, 2006.
51. Richens P. and Medjdoub B. "Building Services Standard Solutions", final report for the EPSRC, April 2001.
52. Medjdoub B., Ph.D. report. "A Constraint Programming CAD Approach in Architectural Design: ARCHiPLAN". Ecole Central Paris Press, France, May 1996.
53. Medjdoub B, Karroubi K., Maculet R. and Boccon-Gibod H., "Structure de Génie-civil dans PDMS: cahier des charges. Research Report: DER/EDF GCAO, EDF Press, September 1992.

See all of Benachir Medjdoub's publications...

Press expertise

  • Building Information Modelling
  • City modelling
  • Generative design and automation
  • VR and AR in architecture and planning
  • Digital architecture and planning
  • Design optimisation
  • Energy planning
  • Historical buildings