Gero’s Function-Behavior-Structure Framework

Figure 4. The situated FBS framework (Gero and Kannengiesser 2004a). 

In the attempt to make design explicit Gero had initially distinguished 8 processes. In this article he attempts to revisit this theory by inserting situatedness, as in the dynamic character of the context in which design takes place.

The 8 phases were:

  • Formulation
  • Synthesis
  • Analysis
  • Evaluation
  • Documentation
  • Reformulation type 1
  • Reformulation type 2
  • Reformulation type 3

In this version of the theory, Gero and Kannengiesser increase the number of steps by distinguishing between representations in different worlds (external, internal, expected) The number rises from 8 to 20 as seen in sequence in the image above. The most important changes occur in formulation from F (function) to Be (expected behavior); the designer interprets the explicit requirements by producing interpreted representations which in turn are augmented by interpretation originating from the designer’s own experience. The original transformation of F into Be corresponds to the 10th step in the overall activity.

In this context situatedness intervenes in the process of design through the representation of the differences/particularities of the external world and the impact of those differences to the designer’s constructive memory in terms of function, behavior and structure.



Gero, J S and Kannengiesser, U ‘The situated function–behaviour–structure framework’ in J S Gero (ed.) Artificial intelligence in design’02, Kluwer, Dordrecht (2002) pp 89–104

Full article available here

Image: An ontology of situated design teams – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: [accessed 30 May, 2016]

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