multi-purpose kits of parts

We develop algorithms to synthesize kit-of-part structures whose components can be reused in diverse shapes.
Structures today are designed for a single life cycle. When they become obsolete, their components are lost and all adverse environmental impacts related to their existence becomes meaningless. What if structural components were designed not for one application but for a series of applications? What if they could be reassembled to form extremely diverse geometries and topologies, without large oversizing?

1-to-3 pavilion, smart living lab, 2019


Form follows availability – Designing structures through reuse

J. Brütting; G. Senatore; C. Fivet 

This work proposes a new direction in structural design: the synthesis of structures through the reuse of elements. Reusing structural elements reduces the environmental impacts of building structures because it avoids sourcing new material, it reduces waste and it requires little energy. Designing structures from reused elements is unlike conventional structural design because stock element availability is a design input. In other words, structures must be designed subject to availability of given element characteristics such as length and cross-section type, which have a major influence on the optimal structure layout and form. In this new paradigm structural form follows availability. In this work new computational methods for the synthesis of reticular structures through reuse are formulated to address two scenarios: a) reuse of reclaimed elements from a given stock, and b) design of an element stock which is used as a kit of parts to build diverse structures. Case studies are presented to demonstrate the potential of the proposed methods. It is shown that structures produced by these methods have a significantly lower environmental impact than minimum weight structures made of new elements.

Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures. 2019. Vol. 60, num. 4, p. 257-265. DOI : 10.20898/j.iass.2019.202.033.
Designing structures through reuse: three trusses made from one kit of parts.
Optimal kit-of-parts design: (top) optimal geometries and element assignment, (bottom) element assignment and stock description, ordered by cross-section size

Exploration of spatial structures made from reused elements and the design of optimal kits-of-parts

J. Brütting; G. Senatore; C. Fivet 

Reuse reduces raw material use, waste generation and energy consumption caused by building construction. A substantial share of these impacts is contributed by load-bearing systems be-cause of their mass- and energy-intensive production process. Therefore, reusing structural components over multiple service lives has the potential to improve the sustainability of building structures. However, reusing structural elements entails reversing the conventional structural design process: the mechanical and geometric properties of available elements predetermine the geometry and topology of a structure. This paper presents structural optimization techniques: 1) for the design of multiple spatial structures from one stock of elements, and 2) for the synthesis of an optimal stock or kit-of-parts whose elements can be used in multiple structures. The objective of case 1) is to avoid the cutting of stock elements, i.e. to reduce waste. In case 2), the objective is to reuse stock elements in as many structures as possible. In both cases, the assignment of stock elements to the structure is obtained via combinatorial optimization. In addition, geometry optimization is employed to best-fit the structure geometry to the lengths of assigned stock elements. The potential of the proposed methods for large-scale applications is demonstrated via case studies of three spatial structures of complex layout: a dome, two three-chord trusses and a tower.

2019-07-24. International Conference on Structures and Architecture, Lisbon, Portugal, July 24-26, 2019. p. 221-228. DOI : 10.1201/9781315229126-27.
Optimal structure geometries for a dome, two trusses, and a tower, all using the same kit of parts