Structural Optimization of Folded Plate StructuresResearch, 2016
This project explores the potential of folded plate structures to be a structurally optimized architectural typology.
A custom Grasshopper script was developed in which the designer can determine the form of a spanning folded plate structures by adjusting the control points of two curves through which the base surface is lofted. The input geometry is then connected to two different optimizers, Goat and Digital Structure's own Stormcloud, to generate different optimized alternatives close to the base shape.
The findings demonstrated that the folded plate typology inherently performed better than a continuous shell of the same shape. Structural optimization was shown to offer a wide design space for the global morphology of folded plate structures.
A video overview of the parametric modeling process and a few case studies is presented here.
Digital brainstorming: New computational tools for creative data-driven designCaitlin Mueller, Nathan Brown, and Renaud Danhaive, ABX 2015: Conference for the Boston Society of Architects, 2015
This session focuses on tools that link conceptual design decisions in architecture to quantitative and qualitiative performance metrics, such as structural material volume, energy consumption, daylighting quality, and formal and spatial qualities. Developed by the Digital Structures research group at MIT, these tools emphasize design over analysis, aiming to help designers explore a wide range of diverse, surprising, and high-performing alternatives for conceptual design problems. Participants will learn strategies for using the tools in their own practices to navigate conceptual building design problems in a flexible yet data-driven way.
An integrated computational approach for creative conceptual structural designCaitlin Mueller and John Ochsendorf, Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2013, 2013
This paper introduces a new computational approach for creative conceptual structural design, synthesizing an interactive evolutionary framework, a structural grammar strategy for trans-typological design, and a performance-focused surrogate modelling technique. By developing and integrating these three strategies into a unified design approach, this research enables architects and structural designers to explore broad ranges of conceptual design alternatives in an interactive way.
From analysis to design: a new computational strategy for structural creativityCaitlin Mueller and John Ochsendorf, Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Design in Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2013
Since the introduction of finite element analysis software in the 1970s, structural engineers have become increasingly reliant on computational tools to carry out sophisticated simulations of structural performance. However, most structural analysis tools can only be used once there is a structure to be analyzed; they are not directly applicable in the design or synthesis of a new structural solution. This paper presents new research that expands the applicability of computation from structural analysis to structural design, with an emphasis on conceptual design applications. Specifically, this paper introduces a new interactive evolutionary framework implemented in a web-based structural design tool, structureFIT. This approach enables users to explore structural design options through an interactive evolutionary algorithm, and to further refine designs through a real-time analysis mode. This paper includes a critical background on optimization and its applications in structural design, an overview of the original interactive evolutionary framework, a description of the design tool, and a discussion of potential applications.
The state of the art of computational tools for conceptual structural designAnke Rolvink, Caitlin Mueller, and Jeroen Coenders, Proceedings of the IASS-SLTE 2014 Symposium, 2014
This paper presents a review of existing research, projects, developments and applications in the domain of design tools for conceptual structural engineering. The availability of these tools and research into software for conceptual structural design stages has shown a number of interesting developments over the last past few years. The purpose of this investigation is to understand the requirements for software for the early stages of structural design. It investigates the current conceptual design practice, discusses a number of novel trends, and characterizes the relative effectiveness of the available technologies in relation to the nature of the early design stages.
Integrating constructability into conceptual structural design and optimizationResearch, 2014 - 2015
This research encourages interdisciplinary design exploration through consideration of constructability in conceptual structural design. Six new metrics are introduced to measure variability in structural components, impose reasonable construction constraints, and encourage standardization of structural characteristics which can improve the ease, efficiency, and costs of construction. This research applies these original constructability metrics to truss facade structures for an objective, quantitative comparison with structural performance metrics. The primary contribution of these new metrics is a computational method that can aid in identifying expressive, high-performing structures in the conceptual design phase, when decisions regarding global structural behavior have the greatest impact on multi-objective project goals.