Plausibility in Architectural Design - DOMEdesign – Software Support for the formal shaping and architect-oriented design of shell structures
Complex gridshell structures used in architecturally ambitious constructions remain as appealing as ever in the public realm. This paper describes the theory and approach behind the software realisation of a tool which helps in finding the affine self-weight geometry of gridshell structures. The software tool DOMEdesign supports the formal design process of lattice and grid shell structures based upon the laws of physics. The computer-aided simulation of suspension models is used to derive structurally favourable forms for domes and arches subject to compression load, based upon the input of simple architectonic parameters. Irregular plans, three-dimensional topography, a choice different kinds of shell lattice structures and the desired height of the dome are examples of design parameters which can be used to modify the architectural design. The provision of data export formats for structural dimensioning and visualisation software enables engineers and planners to use the data in future planning and to communicate the design to the client.