Topology Finding of Patterns

Topology finding tackles topological exploration of shapes and patterns of shell-like structures, by analogy and in complement to form finding.

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This research focuses on the singularities in force patterns, like thrust networks and load paths, and materialized patterns like voussoir tessellation for masonry vaults, beam grids for elastic gridshells, corrugation reinforcements for shells or strips for membranes.

Two complementary approaches have been developed:

  • a feature-based approach provides an intuitive means to explore patterns respecting alignment to the boundaries of a surface, including point and curve features, which can stem from statics heuristics; and,
  • a rule-based approach provides a grammar for comprehensive exploration by bringing structuredness to the topological design space. A rule-based distance between topologies allows adjacent designs to be generated and combined, and to respect topological requirements, like two-colorability through projection to constrained sub-spaces.

This research is implemented in the toolbox singular from compas_pattern, a package of COMPAS, to be released in Spring 2019.

This research is a joint effort with the Laboratoire Navier, École des Ponts ParisTech, CNRS, IFSTTAR.


Oval R., Mesnil R., Van Mele T., Block P. and Baverel O.Two-colour topology finding of quad-mesh patterns,Computer-Aided Design,137: 103030,2021.
Oval R., Rippmann M., Mesnil R., Van Mele T., Baverel O. and Block P.Feature-based Topology Finding of Patterns for Shell Structures,Automation in Construction,103: 185-201,2019.
Oval R., Mesnil R., Van Mele T., Block P. and Baverel O.Rule-based topology finding of patterns towards multi-objective structural design,Proceedings of the IASS Symposium 2019,Barcelona,2019.
Oval R., Rippmann M., Mesnil R., Van Mele T., Baverel O. and Block P.Topology Finding of Structural Patterns,Proceedings of Advances in Architectural Geometry (AAG) 2018,L. Hesselgren et al. (editors),: 342-363,Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering / Klein Publishing GmbHGothenburg / Vienna,2018.
Oval R., Rippmann M., Van Mele T., Baverel O. and Block P.Patterns for Masonry Vault Design,Proceedings of the IASS Symposium 2017,Hamburg,2017 (September).


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