Clustering of architectural floor plans: A comparison of shape representations

Eugénio Rodrigues, David Sousa-Rodrigues, Mafalda Teixeira de Sampayo, Adélio Rodrigues Gaspar, Álvaro Gomes, Carlos Henggeler Antunes


Generative design methods are able to produce a large number of potential solutions of architectural floor plans, which may be overwhelming for the decision-maker to cope with. Therefore, it is important to develop tools which organise the generated data in a meaningful manner. In this study, a comparative analysis of four architectural shape representations for the task of unsupervised clustering is presented. Three of the four shape representations are the Point Distance, Turning Function, and Grid-Based model approaches, which are based on known descriptors. The fourth proposed representation, Tangent Distance, calculates the distances of the contour’s tangents to the shape’s geometric centre. A hierarchical agglomerative clustering algorithm is used to cluster a synthetic dataset of 72 floor plans. When compared to a reference clustering, despite good perceptual results with the use of the Point Distance and Turning Function representations, the Tangent Distance descriptor (Rand index of 0.873) provides the best results. The Grid-Based descriptor presents the worst results.

Published in Automation in Construction.