Analysis in Structures: Integrating Architectural and Engineering Design to Minimize Embodied Carbon

Session: Track G: Minimizing Impact: Towards Net Zero Density

David SeelProject image

David Seel
Managing Director West, Robert Bird Group

Structural engineers have a significant role to play in tackling today’s climate emergency. Embodied carbon within building structures represents one of the greatest opportunities to reduce the construction industry’s impact and contribution to global warming. This presentation explores the principle of lean design in a tall building context, using structural optimization techniques with the integration of engineering and architecture to create lean building structures.

Topology optimization and form finding methods present opportunities to create efficient structural systems that are optimized for the strength limit state while naturally meeting serviceability criteria, without needing to specify additional structural material. Using case studies , these examples will show where topology optimization has informed the overall structural system and integrated into the architectural expression. These forms sometimes resemble naturalistic shapes in the structural geometry and can create biophilic designs at the overall building scale.

With a structural engineering, embodied carbon scenario analysis, this can help designers and engineers understand, evaluate, and communicate the pathway to create lower carbon project outcomes. Developing scenario analyses at an early stage that guides the decision making of the design team, client and stakeholders will drive towards a lower carbon future.