Vision, mission, and objectives of the program
Given such developments in society as cradle-to-cradle and the heightened awareness of architectural quality, the complexity of building designs is growing while the evolving requirements for (structural) safety become increasingly complex. Current structural design methodologies, knowledge, and design codes are not sufficient to support the design of future buildings. The vision of the Structural Design group is to be a leading school for innovative structural engineering in the complex design of buildings. By developing innovative structural designs, advanced structural design codes and exciting new design methods, new and appealing architectural designs providing the highest possible safety factor can be built.
The mission of the research programme Structural Design is to enable the design of talked-about buildings incorporating the highest structural safety standards. The programme carries out scientific research (using an integral and innovative approach) to be able to design, construct, and further research structural building systems, possibly related to materials such as concrete, steel, masonry, aluminium, timber and structural components.
The objectives follow the vision and mission; the research within the programme yields scientific results that contribute to the understanding and knowledge of structural behaviour and structural design processes. Due to a high quality laboratory and third-source-financed projects, the research programme provides knowledge to the building industry and engineering consultancy firms, acting as incubator for novel solutions to complex design processes for buildings. The programme educates future structural engineers and encourages its research staff to keep up-to-date with current developments.
Research areas within the programme
The research programme is mainly focussed on two areas: Innovative Structural Design (ISD) and Fundamental Structural Behaviour (FSB). Innovative Structural Design is primarily aimed at creating and incorporating innovative structural systems in the multi-disciplinary design process, e.g. pre-cast bubble-deck floor slabs and computer-aided structural system design. Fundamental Structural Behaviour is focussed on stress engineering, i.e. theoretical, numerical and experimental modelling for investigation of the behaviour of structural systems of materials such as concrete, steel, masonry, aluminium and timber. It is supportive of ISD research. ISD and FSB are covered by three main chairs: Innovative Structural Design (ISD), Applied Mechanics and Design (AMD) and Material-related Structural Design (MSD).
The research programme Structural Design participates in the Research School Structural Engineering (Onderzoekschool BOUW), renamed in 2006/2007 as Research School Integral Design of Structures. The programme is also joining Speerpunt Bouw, a cooperative of building expertise within the three universities of technology in the Netherlands. The Structural Design group and its research programme are considered unique in being a civilengineering based group within the department of Architecture, Building and Planning. The presence of a variety of building groups in the department encourages the direct interaction of the research of the Structural Design group in the architectural, construction or planning environments, thus accommodating the multi-disciplinary aim of its research and positions the TU/e Structural Design group between the Structural Design group of TU-Delft Architecture and TU-Delft Civil Engineering. Due to recent developments regarding other laboratories, the Pieter van Musschenbroeck Laborator is now in a unique position in the Netherlands: It is the only laboratory where expertise exists for full-scale testing of almost every building structure and its components.
The programme has produced a significant amount of high quality research. The scientific relevance of this research can be seen by publications in leading scientific journals (ISI). The research domains presented in Research Areas consist of several PhD or MSc projects, often supervised by several chairs, and have led to scientific journal articles and refereed conference proceedings.