Wither now the Design Building Block (DBB) Approach


  • Henrique M. Gaspar Dept. of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering – Norw. Univ. of Science and Technology (NTNU), Ålesund, Norway
  • Ícaro A. Fonseca Dept. of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering – Norw. Univ. of Science and Technology (NTNU), Ålesund, Norway
  • David Andrews Dept of Mechanical Engineering – University College London (UCL), London, UK




Computer aided ship design (CASD), Design Building Block (DBB) approach, Early Stage Ship Design (ESSD) of service vessels, 2D and 3D modelling, Teaching Ship Design


A description of the Design Building Block approach (DBB) was first published at IMDC1997, followed by a practical realisation presented at IMDC2003, both emphasised 3D as a key element of dialogue and creativity in early ship design. The current article celebrates, at the 15th IMDC, this architecturally driven ship synthesis approach with an overview of its fundamentals, followed by a suggestion for an open, collaborative and web-based implementation, and then provides examples that can be used when teaching
the approach in ship design. The paper’s first part covers the basics of this UCL-developed method, with an overview of the processes, terminology, flow of ship design information, key analyses and key examples published in the literature. The second part focus on an initial attempt to compile a version of this method that can be adapted and implemented in other academic environments, outside the original scope, which was focused on the early stage design of a range of innovative naval vessels. This part of the paper includes an
extension of the current taxonomy to commercial vessels, as well as an adapted approach that can be used for ship design teaching and research. Additionally, a compilation of open online stepwise examples is presented, using the NTNU-developed web-based library Vessel.js. These examples cover the basic steps to teach the use of and to readily modify DBB for environments outside the constraints more applicable to multirole naval vessels. The paper concludes with a summary of its main intentions, emphasising the current
gap that it is seen to fulfil by compiling the key DBB derived information in a single document. This is then followed by open and online examples that can be readily accessed, modified and expanded.




How to Cite

Gaspar, H. M., Fonseca, Ícaro A., & Andrews, D. (2024). Wither now the Design Building Block (DBB) Approach. International Marine Design Conference. https://doi.org/10.59490/imdc.2024.915

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