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Geometric design and simulation of architectural freeform shells and skins

geometricThis project will explore and improve the design process of freeform architectural shells and building skins. There is a continuing trend towards the use of freeform geometries in architecture and structural engineering. The design of the resulting thin-walled structures has distinct challenges due to the sensitive interrelation between structural form and load carrying behaviour, and cannot be satisfactorily addressed using available engineering software. To address the limitations of present design software Dr Cirak’s research team CSMLab has been developing subdivision surfaces, known from computer graphics and animation, as a common representation for Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA). Subdivision surfaces generalise the NURBS (Non-uniform Rational B-Splines) common to most CAD software to geometries with arbitrary topology. A number of operations in architectural geometry, including panelling (or, rationalisation) and placement of stiffeners, require algorithms for efficient interrogation of surfaces. In this project, we will develop efficient interrogation algorithms for subdivision surfaces to compute curves, such as, plane sections, intersections, and silhouettes.