In the 1990s, Case-Based Design (CBD) seemed an appealing approach to develop intelligent design support. Based on an alternative view of human cognition, CBD systems find new design solutions by adapting similar experiences from the past. Although several CBD applications have been built, a convincing breakthrough by these systems has yet to come. In search of reasons for this limited success, this article embarks on a critical review of the CBD approach. Its underlying cognitive model serves as a framework to analyse six CBD systems and to identify gaps in CBD research. The article focuses primarily on CBD applications for architecture, yet the findings may be relevant for other design domains as well. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.