Research on platform-based production systems for house-building has focused on production and manufacturing issues. The aim of this research is to explore how the architectural design process contributes to the industrialised house-building industry from the perspective of creative design work. It also aims to describe how constraints affect architectural design work in the engineer-to-order context, when using platform-based production systems. Architects with experience in using platform-based building systems with different degrees of constraints were interviewed regarding creative aspects of the design work. The interviews, together with documents relating to platform constraints, were then analysed from the perspective of artistic and engineering design theories. The results show the benefits and issues of using platform constraints, both with prefabrication of volumetric modules, as well as prefabricated slab and wall elements. The study highlights a major research gap by describing how architectural work, from both the creative artistic and engineering design perspectives, is affected by constraints in the building platform: (1) the architectural design work goes through a series of divergent and convergent processes where the divergent processes are explorative and the convergent processes are solution-oriented; and (2), there is a trade-off between creativity and efficiency in the design work. Open parameters for layout design are key to architectural creativity, while predefinition supports efficiency. The results also provide an understanding of the potential for creativity in artistic and engineering work tasks through different phases in design, and how they are related to constraints in the platform. The main limitation of the research is the number of interviewed architects who had different background experiences of working with different types of platform constraints. More studies are needed to confirm the observations and to understand how creativity and efficiency interact with divergent and convergent design processes.
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