ISD Research Areas

The research in the group Innovative Structural Design focuses on the following topics:

  •  Adaptive Structural Systems
  •  Lightweight Structures
  •  Life Cycle Design of Structures
  •  Parametric Structural Optimisation
  •  Integrated Design of Structures

Adaptive Structural Systems

Various design aspects influence the building performance such as architectural criteria, multiple environmental impacts and user behavior. Specific examples are sun, wind, temperatures, function, occupancy, socio-cultural aspects and other contextual aspects and needs. Even though these aspects are acknowledged to be variable, conventional buildings are conceived to provide one design solution, represented in a static configuration. Due to the changes in needs and context, a static building cannot guarantee the same level of performances over time. This will lead to a discrepancy between the building and the environment. On a long term, this discrepancy is currently approached through refurbishment and transformations; on the short term this discrepancy is currently tackled through minor refurbishment and installations. However, conventional buildings are not designed for adaptation to contextual aspects and needs. Current adaptation on both short and long term will lead to a considerable amount of effort and costs. The research focuses on the instant adaptation of the building, in order to facilitate an effortless adaptation to context and needs.

Lightweight Structures

When structures have to span larger distances, become higher, are deployable or mobile, designing them as lightweight structures is unavoidable.  The reduction of self weight of the structures becomes more and more important. Structures are there to support live-load and dead load is a necessary evil.  An intelligent structure therefore must use its material in the most efficient way.  But designing these intelligent structure will ask skills from the engineer.
To minimize self-weight, lightweight structures will avoid bending moments and are structurally designed to develop internal axial forces (tension and compression). To do so there is always a very strong relation between ‘Force and Form’. The 3-dimensional natural shapes make the flow of forces visible and do contribute heavily to an enriched architecture.
Lightweight structures fully integrate engineering and architecture. Built responsibly and disciplined, they escape from the heavy monotone image of structures and earn sympathy beyond the non existing boundaries of both disciplines.

Life Cycle Design of Structures

To achieve the EU 2020 goals our existing and future building stock will need upgrading to drastically improved energy performance levels. Furthermore, to reduce the CO2eq impacts it is necessary to systematically evaluate the buildings capacity for change and upgrading to new requirements. The survival rate of buildings (in terms of the probability of a sufficiently long or elongated service life in relation to the buildings service life) need to be assessed.
An assessment methodology is needed to implement an improved Service Life Estimation and will make it possible to assess buildings on their probability of an elongated service life when applying the methodology. The methodology must incorporate statistical survival analysis methods as well as rating methodologies for technical flexibility indicator.