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Paper w78_2007_33:
Positioning FEM in the transformation of spatial design to structural design

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H. Hofmeyer, M. C. M. Bakker

Positioning FEM in the transformation of spatial design to structural design

Abstract: In the field of architecture, structural topology is the set of locations, types (i.e. beams, columns), and ar-rangements of structural elements. To help the architect in understanding the structural topology for his spatial design, research exists that studies the process of the transformation of a spatial design into a structural design. If the Finite Element Method (FEM) is applied in this research, two problems can occur: (1) how to transform a topology in a me-chanical system and FEM-input and (2) how can FEM support qualitative design decisions. In this paper, it is tried to define these two problems more clearly by developing data(EXPRESS)- and process(IDEF0)-models for three trans-formations: From structural topology to mechanical system, from mechanical system to finite element model, and from finite element model to design recommendations. A six-level apartment building is used as a case study to test and sup-plement the data- and process-models for all three transformations. It can be concluded that the data- and process models are useful at their abstract level, but that many problems at lower abstraction levels remain to be solved.

Keywords: FEM, structural design, spatial design, data model, process model


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