Parametric thinking is the process of linking, relating, and generating calculated actions to solve problems rather than searching for them. The term is derived from the fields of urban design, architectural design, interior design, industrial design, and furniture design. As a style within contemporary avant-garde architecture, Parametricism is promoted as the successor to post-modern architecture and modern architecture.

Beyond being another tool for modelling complex forms, parametric design is emerging as a unique and distinctive model of design. Both research and practice in parametric design are influencing the development of parametric design theories that are currently undergoing a reformulation and an epistemological shift. Additionally, parametric design approaches are beginning to be influenced by the development of parametric design tools. The parametric design can be visualized in 3D with attributes supplying all the dimensions, tolerances, and materials.

What is parametric design thinking? - Sheet1
Parametric designs_©

Parametric Design

The three characteristics of parametric design thinking are – thinking abstractly, thinking mathematically and thinking algorithmically. Thinking with abstraction is a base that enables parametric design as a generative approach for producing parallel alternatives, and it also enables parts of the parametric model to be reused. Thinking mathematically refers to the theorems and constructions used to define the scripting language for design representation and generation. By thinking algorithmically, a scripting language provides functions for adding, repeating, modifying, or removing elements in a parametric design.

The following three points are generally characteristic of the parametric design process:

Designers design rules and define their logical relationships in the creation of 3D visualization models

Parametric design defers traditional computer modelling in that rule-sets become the basic design procedures for configuring 3D models. Parametric models are built by setting variables and adjusting parameters, and then revising the rules accordingly.

Designers can change and modify their designs at any stage of the process

Designers can change and modify their rule-based representations at any stage of the design process. In processes of parametric design, the design system is differentiated and correlated. In the parametric model, all design procedures and activities are related to one another and defined.

Design alternatives can be developed simultaneously at any stage

Designers often consider a relatively limited number of alternative solutions. The parametric design process allows an unlimited number of design alternatives to be generated concurrently once the rules are implemented. The possibility of using parallel design generation is changing modes of thinking and contributes to explorative processes. 

Parametric Design Thinking (PDT)

Beyond any particular formal style or design tool, parametric design thinking is emerging as a theoretical topic and a key model of digital design. In light of the emergence of new languages and tools, and when compared to traditional parametric frameworks, a generic formulation of a Parametric Design Schema should be presented and investigated as a comprehensive theoretical framework to support design.

What is parametric design thinking? - Sheet
Diagram of intersecting fields of research in PDT_©

Generic Schema and Associative Relationships

To design the design object, the designer must create the code of the parametric schema. The parametric schemas are a type of mathematical model that support algorithmic processes of shape generation. As a result, even though the cognitive characteristics of exploration, generation, reflection, and modification are the same as in traditional paper-based design, the logic and sequential components have been redesigned.

Associative relationships between geometric concepts are explored through parametric design. Parametric software allows users to reflect both the associative logic and the geometry of the form. The design interface provides a visual representation of the algorithmic structure of the parametric schema to facilitate parametric modification.

Concepts of Visual Representation in PDT

It is possible to visualize both the code and the form of generative and performative processes of design using parametric systems. There are two types of visual displays in parametric design. A display of the 3D visual image is generated simultaneously to interactive programming by the visual scripting code. Parallel to the code modification, parametric variations of the image can be displayed simultaneously in a visual display.

Parametric designing consists of two parts: designing the parametric schema for the design of the desired solution and modifying the parameters of the schema interactively. Changes to the scripting code and visual representation of the solution space occur simultaneously.

What is parametric design thinking? - Sheet3
Visual 3D image in performative model of digital design_©

Cognitive Parametric Schema

The cognitive role and the logic of a generic knowledge schema as a basis for the understanding process of schema adaptation and refinement by representation can be demonstrated through examples of prior research. The ability to create new schemas is a fundamental capability of creativity in humans. In the process of design, engineering, and construction the schema can be modified and adapted. To summarize, the role of the parametric schema:

  1. Providing an explorative mechanism
  2. Providing a medium for generating variation
  3. Providing a medium for transformational processes

Parametric design has been proposed as a paradigm for design thinking. One of the most distinct changes in design thinking is the progression from typological thinking to topological design thinking in creative design. A seminal theoretical and operative methodological concept of PDT is the centrality of topological variants in design and topological versioning in the design medium of the parametric schemas. Understanding and learning the symbolic role of imagery in design is one of PDT’s pillars.


  1. Theories and Models of Parametric Design Thinking. [online]. Available at: [Accessed date: 26/04/2022].
  2. Thinking difference: Theories and models of parametric design thinking. [online]. Available at: [Accessed date: 27/04/2022]

She is an Architect and an artist who loves to paint and watch movies a lot!!! A nature enthusiast person loving Nature and believes that conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. She likes to learn new art forms in her spare time.

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