Conference Paper: Peer Reviewed

SmartNodes: ‘Light-weight’ Parametric Structural Design Process with BESO

by Prohasky D., Williams N., Crolla K. and Burry J.

ABSTRACT | This paper includes the documentation of research to overcome the challenges of coordinating architectural and structural initiatives for complex structures in the research project SmartNodes. The technique documented here utilises parametric finite element analysis (FEA), which updates in real-time with qualitative and quantitative structural feedback relayed to the designer. The system is documented with reference to a case study pavilion design, which exemplifies its ability to accommodate freeform flexibility in structures while incorporating complex design tasks such as applying the bidirectional evolutionary structural optimisation (BESO) process to uniquely loaded and hence uniquely shaped nodes. This novel approach was demonstrated through the fabrication of a 1:5 scale prototype of the pavilion. The prototype is composed of 207 standard rectangular section timber beams and 144 3D printed structurally optimised nodes or ‘SmartNodes’. To mass produce the structurally optimised nodes, the multidimensional coordination of structural data such as spatial, force and restraint variables needed careful manipulation through two scales, at the level of the beam network and within each ‘smart node’.

KEYWORDS | BESO; Structural Optimisation; Smartnodes; Parametric Structure; Engineering Design; Empirical Studies; Architectural Design

CITATION | Prohasky, Daniel, Williams Nicholas, Crolla Kristof, and Burry Jane. “SmartNodes: ‘Light-weight’ Parametric Structural Design Process with BESO”. Paper presented in the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium 2015, organized by International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) , 12 pgs. Amsterdam, Netherlands