In recent decades, new design methods have emerged in architecturaldomaindepending on the computer as a design tool.The ill-defined nature of architectural problem and the designer subjective preferences have required the use of objective methods of knowledge analysis such as exploration.Previous studies on design computing have described exploration in relation to varied design operations; the most important of them are the search and evaluation processes.
The paper puts forwarda theoretical framework for exploration in designcomputing which is able to differentiate the use of explorationamong various computational tools.It definesthe aims of exploration, the roles of exploration in a design process, the sequence of exploration activities in a design process, and the executor of exploration.The roles of exploration include searching both the design problem space anddesign solution space; whereas in the latter, exploration is a tool of generating and evaluating design alternatives.The framework is used to identify the tasks of exploration in some design computing tools.

Keywords:exploring design problems, exploring design solutions, generatingdesign alternatives, evaluating design alternatives.