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Vol. 47 (2006) No. 3 December n. 152

Approximating Complex Shapes with Intelligent Structures: Embedded Design Intelligence in Systems for the Early Phases of Design

< Table of Contents for Vol. 47 (2006) No. 3 December n. 152
  • Journal Name: Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (J. IASS)
  • ISSN: (Electronic Version) 1996-9015
  • ISSN: (Print Version) 1028-365X
  • Issue: Vol. 47 (2006) No. 3 December n. 152
  • Pages: 237-243
  • Title: Approximating Complex Shapes with Intelligent Structures: Embedded Design Intelligence in Systems for the Early Phases of Design
  • Author(s): J. Coenders
In contemporary architecture and structural engineering a trend towards the increased use of advanced geometry and computation can be observed. This poses new challenges for the structural engineer, the designed structures and structural types, and the technology used to design, describe, model, calculate, engineer, communicate, produce and assemble these structures. System concepts, like parametric associative design, can be used to capture the design intelligence in parameters, associations, rules, objects (features) and programmatic components [1]. Although these technologies have many features for the modelling the geometrical representation of a structure, buildings consist of more than only geometry and generation. For free-form structures, surfaces should be meshed, tessellated or populated to impose a grid-based structure consisting of these parametric elements. However, not all restrictions of the structural design can be expressed in a single surface model of the intended design, since often the structure imposes restrictions in the form of angles, lengths, stresses, etc. Therefore, surface population is often not the appropriate technique for defining a structure. This paper presents a computational method to model a geometrical and structural representation with embedded design intelligence in the form of simple rules, constraints and the generation process. With the presented method a designed shape can be automatically approximated in order to allow the architect and the engineer to quickly apply and test a typical structure (for instance a space frame or a beam-column-structure) on the designed shape in the early phases of the design, while taking into account restrictions from various aspects, such as the load bearing behaviour, production aspects, etc. Proper structural design and fine-tuning of the design still has to take place by the designers, but this tool allows quick tests and indicative exploration during the first conversations of the design. A prototype implementation has been created in a new parametric associative system, GenerativeComponents [1], by programming components in the C# programming language.

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