Parametrical Design applied to structures

Parametrical Design applied to structures

Design and algorithms to control the choices of all disciplines involved in the design process.

Structural engineering is undergoing a major transformation. Increasingly demanding clients together with complex calculation regulations require integrated teams capable of tackling design from all angles. A challenge and at the same time a real opportunity to make a quantum leap and offer services in step with the times.

DVS has in its DNA the goal of improving and speeding up the conception and development processes of its projects. This is precisely why it chose to integrate digital tools into its workflow that optimise all activities. Solid theoretical foundations in the structural field are complemented by purpose-built algorithms to speed up the conceptual design phase. This is the most critical phase in which the client can appreciate the true added value offered and the designer the technical validity of the proposed solution.

We have created a series of visual scripting algorithms developed in the Rhino-Grasshopper environment, which allow us to tackle a wide range of projects. Many objectives are achieved by employing this technology: first and foremost, control during the design flow of the proposed solutions, and structure optimisation, fringe conditions being equal.

We can speed up structural design while respecting the freedom of architectural composition, combining traditional design with simulation by showing in advance the most significant results of different scenarios. An area still largely to be explored, in which DVS has decided strongly to invest.

The parametrical design facilitates the work and allows the structural team to easily accommodate architectural choices. In real time, different options can thus be evaluated and presented to the client who can immediately appreciate the pros and cons.

Specifically, we are able to analyse the structural layout of the primary structural elements of a building, carrying out a preliminary verification of their correct compliance with regulatory requirements.

For example, for a multi-storey building with a generic free-form plan, the dynamic behaviour of the whole can be predicted in advance by controlling the exploitation rate of the most significant elements. Right from the start, the correct positioning of all resistant stability elements can be verified. Having defined all the loads – both vertical gravitational loads and horizontal loads from earthquake and wind – and identified the architectural constraints, the most efficient structural meshes are chosen. As a result, the volumes of the elements can be minimised and their number reduced, simplifying installation and assembly in the construction phase.

Once the structural materials have been assigned and the safety parameters have been set in the pre-design phase, the tool created allows designers to control the exploitation rate of resistant elements against the main verifications. Finally, colourful graphical maps allow immediate understanding of choices and their implications on the other disciplines involved in the design process.

Luca Mari

26 gen 2022

5' min read


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Luca Mari - Technical Director DVS - Structural Design

Luca Mari:

Engineer. Technical Director DVS.