Application of OptiStruct in Architectural Design

The application of topology optimization in the conceptualization of architectural structures is a newly emerging field within computational architectural design. As the internationally leading institution within the field, Aarhus School of Architecture is conducting extensive research on optimization and construction of architectural concrete structures. By the application of topology optimization within fields of mechanical engineering, a linear approach may employed in which optimization results are implemented more or less directly, considering primarily the manufacturing constraints. The utilization of topology optimization in architectural design requires an iterative approach, in which the conditions for the optimization – design space layout, position of supports, etc. – is continuously questioned and revised, based on architectural evaluation of the optimization results. This process on the one side requires the application of topology optimization at early stages of the process, while on the other hand allowing for a convergence between structural and aesthetic considerations. This convergence result in innovative, new architectural languages, in which the trajectories of the forces of the system become visible to the observer, making the visual exposure of the structure an aesthetically appealing part of the design. The presentation will cover the realization of the Unikabeton full scale, topology optimized prototype concrete structure, discuss the implication of topology optimization in architectural design and showcase recent developments at Aarhus School of Architecture within the research field.

The Author

Asbjørn Søndergaard
Head of digital experimentation
aarhus school of architecture
nørreport 20
DK-8000 Aarhus,  Denmark

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