For my Master’s Thesis I fully designed and optimized the glass and steel roof you see in the picture. Dealing with complex structures requires the AEC team to deal with several problems. In this article we’ll focus on the structural optimization, in other words the process utilized to reduce the amount of material to the minimum having as constraint structural reliability.
As a matter of fact, structural optimization should start with a topological form finding which means finding the structural shape as you see in the picture. This part has been dealt in a previous step and I found it quite hard to do in a rigorous computational process because of the high number of variables involved (the above structure has some 600 beams). In this phase I optimized the cross section of each member so that in the end they were the thines possibile, while still complying with national regulations in terms of resistance, stability and stiffness.
To achieve this, two different methods were adopted, an iterative upgrading process and Evolutionary Multi-Objective Algorithms.
This is pretty easy and neat so we are going to deal with it first. Take a look at the above picture and let’s go through it.