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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2023

Integrative Agent-Based Architectural Design Modelling for Segmented Timber Shells

From the book Advances in Architectural Geometry 2023

  • Tobias Schwinn , Lasath Siriwardena and Achim Menges


Methods of planar re-meshing are an intensively studied topic in the fields of Architectural Geometry and Computer Graphics, which allow the design and eventual fabrication of double-curved shell structures from flat stock material. Planar hexdominant (PH) meshes have vertex valence 3, a property that is important for the structural behavior of segmented timber shells. These shells are not only lightweight structures, but also offer additional benefits such as resource efficiency, low embodied carbon, and ease of prefabrication. Nevertheless, integrating architectural, structural, and fabrication constraints in the construction of PH-meshes remains a challenge, especially when transitioning from synclastic to anticlastic regions on a single design surface. Furthermore, state-of-the-art segmentation methods are largely inaccessible during early-stage architectural design. This paper presents an agent-based approach that addresses both the complex synclastic-anticlastic case and early-stage design usability. The model offers a novel conceptualization of timber shell segments as agents consisting of sub-agents representing segment vertices. We show how sub-agent-level decision-making and segment-level evaluation enables greater design flexibility and deeper integration of interdisciplinary constraints resulting in fairer segmentations than previous approaches. Real-world constraints from the realization of a multi-shell, large-scale segmented timber roof have informed method development thereby ensuring its applicability in design practice.

© 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
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