Since the 1990ies, my subject of interest as an architect included investigations on the quality of architecture, considering complexity, design quality, and function. Starting my research on definitions of architecture, I developed in a different way a new design methodology. In the end, it strives for good results and processes, starting from contents and goals. The new aspect of my method was involving the stakeholders and knowledge respectively competency about how to think, how to do things and how to proceed.

The Method of Architectural Planning and Design (MAPLE/D) was conceptualized by the author (2004) as a systematic approach for a future-oriented planning and design method for architects working in interdisciplinary groups on complex building tasks, such as social facilities and healthcare buildings. MAPLE/D is applicable as a planning, design, and evaluation tool for professional architects. In addition, MAPLE/D can be used as an aid for teaching, in the design studio, and as framework for further research on planning and design methods. MAPLE/D provides methods and tools to contribute to enhance building performance.

The concept of MAPLE/D started with basic research on the definition and essence of architecture as well as the job profile of the architect. These definitions included:

  • architecture is made by and for people to fulfill a defined number of goals;
  • planning is an information-processing, systematic procedure towards a goal-oriented resolution of a building task;
  • designing is an inventive, creative process to develop a unique architectural solution.

To manage their job, namely enhancing building performance, successfully, architects are expected:

  • to work comprehensively, independently, and reliably,
  • to involve and consider all stakeholders’ interests,
  • to proceed systematically and, therefore, efficiently,
  • to find all essential issues and transform them into an effective design concept,
  • to fulfill a coordinator’s, presenter’s, and mediator’s role as well as to develop an appealing design concept, and
  • to support the entire problem solving process with creativity.

Meeting these requirements can be achieved by using meta-method MAPLE/D.

  • The idea of MAPLE/D is to provide an open, basic structure with a grid consisting of five models that are embedded in a thinking tool and a number of methodological tools that are linked to the five models. The five models are (1) scientific criteria model, (2) stakeholder model, (3) issue model, (4) process model, (5) competency model, with the underlying thinking tool being called the “principle of creative thinking” (see Figure 16.1). This modular system is a toolkit with which the architect can apply single modules, MAPLE/D as a whole, or adapt the system according to the specific building task to best meet his requirements.

A detailed description of MAPLE/D beginning with the principle of creative thinking can be found in Enhanced Building Performance, Shauna Mallory-Hill, Wolfgang F. E. Preiser, Christopher G. Watson, ISBN: 978-0-470-65759-1, Mar 2012, Wiley-Blackwell.