Conceptual design of a pedestrian bridge by means of topology optimization

The paper explores structural optimization potentials in Architecture. In a first section some examples fromthe state of the art are discussed pointing out the panorama of architectural structures developed by means of Topology Optimization. In a second section some experiments are performed in order to understand the potential of the procedure in generating architectural structures. A design strategy, based on Topology Optimization and Size Optimization, is then proposed as a concept design tool.
The procedure is applied to the case study of a bridge 40 m long and its shelter.

The developed methodology is used to define the support structure and the shelter; the procedure is based on five steps:

  1. The first step is performed creating a standard non-rigid steel-deck, it is optimized by means of Size Optimization in order to achieve a lighter structure, then the non-rigid steel-deck is used to transmit the load-path to the design space in order to achieve the organic shape of the pillars. A new approach is represented by the use of steel plates to transmit the loads from the steel-deck to design space.

  2. finding of the architectural-structural form of the pillars and the shelter by using a Topology Optimization procedure.

  3. re-design of the structural skin and shelter;

  4. optimization of the structural skin;

  5. verification of the entire structure subjected to standard design actions.

The results obtained are represented by several structural shapes that give to the designer several inspirations in order to develop many interpretations and possible solutions varying the design parameters.

The Author

University of Camerino, School of Architecture and Design of Ascoli Piceno, Italy
Altair Engineering, Troy, Michigan, USA

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