Details and a link to download the completed MPhil theses can be found below.

Download PDF (13MB) Interactive Design of Curved-Crease-Folding

by Shajay Bhooshan
Building on the historic work of Huffman, there has been increasing recent interest in the digital design and architectural application of curved-crease folded (CCF) geometries. This is particularly timely, given the new possibilities of producing curved surfaces from flat sheet material afforded by developments in robotic technology. However there are difficulties in interactively modelling such geometries, which stem from the lack of both appropriate geometric descriptions and constructive tools available in commercial CAD software. The author's initial survey of methods included both the iterative optimization-based methods and simple constructive methods. Most methods presented difficulties for incorporation within an intuitive, real-time, edit-and-observe exploratory method. This research overcomes attempts to overcome these difficulties through the use of Dynamic Relaxation (DR) for the interactive modelling of CCF geometries. It applies discrete differential operators and their gradients, within a DR framework, to perturb meshes to satisfy the geometric criteria of CCF geometries outlined in Kilian et al. This research also outlines procedural strategies for generating appropriate topologies of an initial mesh, and a novel method for applying boundary conditions. The dissertation also includes a broad overview of existing methods to model developable surfaces, simulate elasto-plastic behaviour of thin (inextensible) shells and 2D parameterization of 3D meshes.

Download PDF (41MB) Harmonic Form-finding for the Design of Curvature-Stiffened Shells

by Cecilie Brandt-Olsen
The last decade of technological advancements have set architects free to explore a vast variety of shapes, which in effect has given rise to a trend of complex freeform buildings in contemporary architecture. These shapes are generally based on pure aesthetics which often results in awkward and over-dimensioned structures or very costly construction. As a consequence, engineers have developed methods to inform the shape design such that form follows force. While these structures are highly effective, they lack considerations of practical constraints and reduce the need for interaction between the architect and engineer.
This research offers a novel free-form modelling technique with inherent shapes suitable for stiffening of shells through curvature. The methodology has been implemented in a software tool to help guide the design at the conceptual stage by providing upfront feedback to changes of form, thus integrating architectural vision with structural logic. The modelling approach is based on harmonics, which makes it possible to parametrise a given mesh by a few variables and simultaneously perform advantageous analysis of the geometry. The generated shapes are subsequently evaluated in terms of their buckling capacity, where it is evident that the inherent double curvature provides geometrical stiffness to better resist sudden failure due to high compressive forces.
Case studies of the British Museum Great Court Roof and other smaller examples, combined with a continuous dialogue with people from the industry, have been used to assess and enhance the applicability of the design tool in practice.

Download PDF (35MB) Multi-Objective Optimisation of Building Geometry for Energy Consumption and View Quality

by Zack Xuereb Conti
Property developers' strict monetary-yielding objectives are pressuring architects to only prioritise the design variables that directly affect these objectives. The conflicting consequences of their design decisions are being ignored as a result of the shift in priorities and rigid time budgets.
This dissertation tackles the conflict between the design of large glazed facades for maximised vistas, hence increased property value and the consequences of energy consumption. The conflicting objectives are treated as a multi-objective optimisation problem in search for solutions of optimal energy consumption and view quality. This is achieved in the form of an interactive software tool allowing users to modify and constrain the building geometry, simulate the cooling load and assign view values. A view-scoring method is developed in order to quantify and score a view according to the quality of its contents. An interactive evolutionary optimisation tool was implemented within the same software to search for building geometries of reduced cooling loads and high view values.

Download PDF (3MB) Structuring Free-Form Building Envelopes

by Daniel Gebreiter
In contemporary architectural design, the definition of envelope geometry often precedes consideration of its material build-up. The geometries created in such a top-down manner require subsequent rationalisation for construction.
This thesis addresses methods for the aesthetic and efficient structuring of arbitrary surfaces while respecting distinct architectural considerations. Digital design tools have been developed to approximate surfaces using isotropic triangular or quadrangular elements. Various methods for the creation of simplified base complexes are shown. Such complexes expose a simplified topological build-up of surfaces and are used to create global parameterisations of surfaces of arbitrary genus. For quadrangular discretisation, the restructuring can be aligned to a user-defined vector field on the surface. The generated geometries are then optimised with regard to architectural considerations by means of dynamic relaxation.
Particular attention is given to the compatibility of the methods with existing design workflows. Suitability and performance of the tools are assessed when used for the design of a real glass roof designed with Schlaich Bergermann and Partner in Luwan, China.

Download PDF (29MB) Interactive Formfinding For Optimised Fabric-Cast Concrete

by Andreas Bak
Producing organic shapes in concrete has been a challenging problem since complex freeform buildings became a major trend in contemporary architecture. Many different techniques for casting doubly curved shapes have been proposed. Most of them produce elements which exactly match a preconceived design, but at a high cost in manufacture. Fabric formwork techniques (such as those pioneered at the Centre of Architectural Structures and Technology at the University of Manitoba (CAST)) are relatively economical, but require a form-finding approach which takes into account the physics of casting, as well as structural and functional requirements of the finished element.
This thesis presents a specialised methodology for the design and manufacture of optimized concrete elements cast in fabric formwork. Using a novel software tool, the approach proposed in this thesis lies in between the largely intuitive methods reported by CAST and the precise but expensive manufacturing methods normally used in practice. Combining topological optimisation with computational formfinding, the software guides the designer towards a shape that is economical in both material and manufacturability.
By combining knowledge of computational structural analysis, optimisation algorithms, fabric simulation and the practical casting techniques of fabric formwork; this thesis bridges the gap between structurally optimized forms, and those developed intuitively by fabric casting.
A prototype software tool (FabricCast) specialized for the design of centrally supported slabs is presented in detail, with a few design studies realised using plaster scale models.

Download PDF (25MB) Traversing digital matter states to fill irregular volumes

by Harri Lewis
This thesis explores the challenges faced by engineers when presented with a highly complex and fixed volume to support and fill with structure. This situation may arise in the design of free-form architecture, around existing buildings or within large-scale sculptures.
An interactive software application based on a particle simulation moving between matter states from gas to liquid to solid was developed. Combinations of simulated Brownian motion, inter-particle and environmental forces were used to imitate each state. Various algorithms, including a real-time adapted Delaunay tetrahedralisation and a recursive bounce routine, were implemented and used to create stable space frames that fit within any imported volume.
A novel technique called freeze-thaw optimisation is introduced and initial tests that produced a reduction in deflection for a range of space frame support conditions are presented.
The technology was successfully implemented as a case study to design a roof structure for the upcoming Tallinn Town Hall project by BIG architects and Ramboll UK.
This research has significance beyond structural space frame design, including finite-element meshing, optimised cellular or foam metals, bespoke furniture design and computer animation.

Download PDF (23MB) From Dance Movement to Architectural Form

by Dimitra Stathopoulou
Architecture and dance, two apparently diverse subjects, are explored, analysed and interrelated in this research, through parametric modelling. The thesis is divided into five basic chapters. Firstly, it is examined the prior research regarding architecture and dance, which also justifies the innovation of the current research. Secondly, there are explored the visualisation techniques that have been used so far in order to record, file, compose, animate, transform or combine dance movements. Afterwards, it is explained how dance movement be expressed and transformed within the frame of parametric modelling. The tools created are then applied into two case-studies, and transformed according to the functional and spatial restrictions of each project. Finally, the outcomes of this research are summarised indicating the achievements and the difficulties of whole proccess, while recommendations for further research are suggested.