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Structural parametric design for variant studies in the preliminary design phase

By Igor (author) Pečanac


An organized process is necessary to ensure that the building is built on time andwithin budget. This does not always go well however and four majordifficulties can arise.One of the current solutions is performing variant studies. Designing variants iscostly however, which limits the amount of analysed variants. The focus is set onimproving this process, which will indirectly affect the four named issues.The advantages of structural parametric design (SPD) have the potential to increasethe amount and complexity of variants. However, the disadvantage of largestructures is the uncountable amount of possible calculations and parameters.Current SPD-tools have the same functionality in general, but differ in key wayswhich influences the choice for a tool. These mostly focus on some form of optimisation.This research however, focuses on generating options. The connection betweena visual programming software (Dynamo) and FEA software (RFEM) namedthe DRC is chosen to achieve this.Attempting every possibility for the support structure is difficult. A method istherefore proposed called the "translation by component method" (TC-method),which gives the ability to more easily modify parametric models. This made itpossible to divide the problem over several smaller scripts, called variants.Each variant is able to produce models, called options, which provide informationabout the critical load combination, the type of failure and the unity checks formost eurocode demands. The structural engineer can learn from each variant and apply this knowledge onsubsequent variants. The engineer’s creativity is thus used to limit the amount ofparameters and calculations. This process directs the engineer towards a solution.Options provide information for the architect as well, namely: the geometryof the support structure, the optimized cross sections and the costs of the option.The architect can use this information to weigh options against each other to fulfilthe demands of the SoR as well as possible. This process is named optioneering.After the first variant was created, nine variants and 35 options were generated,analysed and reported within two weeks. Optimized options were obtained within15 to 30 minutes. By learning from previous variants, it was possible to find a supportstructure which barely modifies the aesthetics of the structure. The optionsobtained during this process mostly have unique advantages and disadvantageswhich can be compared by the architect. A recommendation and summary isgiven for these results.The applied method for the DRC enhanced the process of the variant study byincreasing the amount and complexity of variants. More information can be obtainedand by learning from previous variants more informed decisions can bemade for subsequent variants by the structural engineer.The architect has more freedom to choose the placement of structural elementsand information of costs is earlier available. This can be used to better implementthe demands of the SoR. The architect can take costs earlier into account aswell which can be used to better estimate the costs-appreciation ratio of a certainchoice.Civil Engineering | Structural Mechanic

Topics: Structural parametric design, Preliminary design, parametric design, Dynamo, RFEM, Variant study, buildings, Architect, structural engineering
Year: 2019
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Provided by: TU Delft Repository
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