Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Whole System Design and Evolutionary 21st Century American Buildings + Infrastructure
by Franz, Anna Young, Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2013, 223; 3592471
Abstract (Summary)

This study explores whole system design and evolutionary 21st century American buildings + infrastructure. The ideas and findings of this dissertation research, as presented at the Seventh International Conference on Design Principles and Practices in Chiba, Japan on March 6, 2013, are provided in a forthcoming publication by the authors (Franz, Sarkani, and Mazzuchi 2013).

Since the introduction of the theory of ecological design in the mid-1970s, whole system design, based on collaboration, research, new technologies and iterative value management, has been increasingly applied to drive sustainable and more innovative solutions (Franz 2011, 2012). While this systems engineering approach for achieving substantial environmental and economic benefits is more commonplace today, it is theorized that evolutionary buildings + infrastructure are achieved through an expanded model of whole system design, one combining art and science, and disciplined processes for the purpose of innovation and differentiation (Franz, Sarkani, and Mazzuchi 2013). This model integrating whole system design (integrated design) with project management, systems engineering process models and radial innovation drives design innovation, promotes change in the built environment and prompts new market opportunities for the Architect Engineer and Construction industry (Franz, Sarkani, and Mazzuchi 2013).

Franz, Sarkani, and Mazzuchi (2013) note that understanding critical success factors for producing distinguished projects is key to sustaining architectural and engineering practice and the building industry. Through quantitative measurement and qualitative case study analyses, the study using winning projects from Engineering News Record's (ENR) Best of the Best 2011 Project Awards (as announced on February 13, 2012 in ENR, The 2011 Best of the Best Projects) examines four questions: 1) what are critical success factors for producing evolutionary 21st century buildings + infrastructure? 2) does whole system design enable project success? 3) do systems engineering process models enhance whole system design? and 4) is radical innovation critical for producing evolutionary American buildings + infrastructure? (Franz, Sarkani, and Mazzuchi 2013)

The study indicates that significant evidence exists to support prior research for factors related to people, project activities, barriers and success (Germuenden and Lechler 1997), and that whole system design (Coley and Lemon, 2008, 2009; Charnley, Lemon and Evans, 2011), as implemented through systems engineering process models (Bersson, Mazzuchi, and Sarkani 2012), and radical innovation (Norman and Verganti 2011) additionally are important factors. Case study information suggests that buildings + infrastructure evolve through design innovation, enhanced by an expanded model for whole system design aligning goals, vision, whole system design and outcomes (Franz, Sarkani, and Mazzuchi 2013). The study informs professionals and students about design innovation and effective project delivery strategies strengthened through systems engineering (Franz, Sarkani, and Mazzuchi 2013).

Keywords: Critical Success Factors, Whole System Design, Systems Engineering, Radical Innovation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sarkani, Shahram, Mazzuchi, Thomas Andrew
Commitee: Bischoff, John, Eftekari, Reza, Mazzuchi, Thomas A., Murphree, Edward L., Sarkani, Shahram
School: The George Washington University
Department: Engineering and Applied Science
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-B 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Engineering, Systems science
Keywords: Critical success factors, Radical innovation, Systems engineering, Whole system design
Publication Number: 3592471
ISBN: 9781303335914