The invention is a method of designing an integrated circuit in which the steps of designing the circuit are optimized by a formal hierarchy. This method, called Timing Driven Placement, of designing an integrated circuit avoids detailed optimization which consumes enormous computational resources. It organizes physical and logical characteristics of the design so that those characteristics can be optimized with respect to the physical design of the circuit. The characteristics are optimized and the resulting circuit to location assignment is placed and wired with a conventional automated process. The method optimizes the global placement into precincts of logic segments of the circuit design with respect to the segment placement effect on circuit timing and wireability. The method then migrates individual circuits within particular segments to other segments to improve both the individual segment and overall circuit timing and wireability. Finally, the method transfers circuit assignment to logic segment and logic segment assignment to physical location information to a conventional process for final detailed circuit placement and wiring.