4.s48
Special Subject: Structural Design — Computational Structural Design and Optimization

Prerequisites: 
Permission of instructor

This research seminar focuses on cutting-edge applications of computation for creative, early-stage structural design and optimization for architecture. Topics covered include computational design fundamentals, including problem parameterization and formulation; design space exploration strategies, including interactive, heuristic, and gradient-based optimization; and computational structural analysis methods, including the finite element method, graphic statics, and approximation techniques. A range of historical and contemporary examples of structural optimization in theory and practice are introduced and investigated as case studies. Students will also complete semester-long individual research projects, which will focus on the development, implementation, or application of an innovative computational approach for structural design.

Both 9- and 12- unit versions of the subject are offered (students enrolled in the 12-unit version will complete additional assignments). Prerequisites are at least one subject in structural mechanics (4.440J/1.056J or 4.462 or equivalent) and programming experience (visual programming in Grasshopper/Dynamo/etc. is acceptable).

Completion Requirements: Students must complete weekly readings, interim assignments, and a final project (to be submitted as a research paper and in a seminar presentation).