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Publications: Article

(Frontiers) Editorial: Biologically-informed approaches to design processes and applications

Pugnale Alberto, Stuart-Fox Devi, Elgar Mark A., Laschi Cecilia, Dumanli Ahu Gumrah

January 2023 | Article

Practitioners across domains—from architectural design (Zari, 2010; Ha and Lu, 2020), medical interventions (Chen et al., 2021), and robotics (Coyle et al., 2018; Ahmed et al., 2022) to materials science (Wegst et al., 2015)—are increasingly drawing inspiration from biology to address a wide range of challenges. This is perhaps unsurprising...

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Le Binishell tra passato, presente e futuro

Bologna Alberto, Pugnale Alberto

January 2023 | Article

Abbiamo intervistato Dante Bini, in occasione dei suoi 90 anni, per discutere delle sue invenzioni e di come il suo lavoro di ricerca sui sistemi di automazione per la costruzione di gusci sottili in calcestruzzo armato possa influenzare future ricerche per lo sviluppo di modi di progettare e realizzare edifici “sostenibili”.


Exploring a Design Space of Shell and Tensile Structures Generated by AI from Historical Precedents

Mirra Gabriele, Pugnale Alberto

August 2022 | Article

This paper presents the development and application of a computational design tool that can be used to explore an AI-generated design space for the conceptual design of shell and tensile structures. An AI model was trained to extract geometric features from a dataset of 40 well-known design precedents of shell...

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Expertise, playfulness and analogical reasoning: three strategies to train Artificial Intelligence for design applications

Mirra Gabriele, Pugnale Alberto

March 2022 | Article

This paper presents a theoretical framework for the implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in architectural and structural design processes, and it is complemented by some practical applications. The aim is to demonstrate that AI can be used to simulate certain aspects of human cognition and can therefore be integrated into...

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An Artificial Intelligence Agent That Synthesises Visual Abstractions of Natural Forms to Support the Design of Human-Made Habitat Structures

Mirra Gabriele, Holland Alexander, Roudavski Stanislav, Wijnands Jasper & Pugnale Alberto

March 2022 | Article

Biodiversity is in a state of global collapse. Among the main drivers of this crisis is habitat degradation that destroys living spaces for animals, birds, and other species. Design and provision of human-made replacements for natural habitat structures can alleviate this situation. Can emerging knowledge in ecology, design, and artificial...

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Comparison between human-defined and AI-generated design spaces for the optimisation of shell structures

Mirra, Gabriele & Pugnale, Alberto

September 2021 | Article

This paper presents a comparison between human-defined and AI-generated design spaces through simple optimisation applications. A design space is a formal expression of a design idea. It is constructed by selecting a set of variables, which limit the search for suitable solutions to a design problem within a specific range...

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Integrating Form, Structure and Acoustics: A Computational Reinterpretation of Frei Otto’s Design Method and Vision

Pugnale, Alberto

March 2018 | Article

In several of Frei Otto’s early membrane structures, acoustics was a rather relevant design aspect that could not be controlled through classical form-finding approaches based on physical models. Moreover, it is possible to add that, geometrically speaking, Frei Otto’s membranes could naturally perform acoustically, because of their anticlastic shape and...

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Dante Bini’s Form-Resistant Binishells

Pugnale, Alberto & Bologna, Alberto

November 2017 | Article

This paper aims to review Dante Bini’s career, as well as his form-resistant Binishell and other pneumatic construction systems. The role of Mario Salvadori in Bini’s international success works as the introduction to a broader discussion about the relationship between innovation in design and innovation in construction for shell and...

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Pier Luigi Nervi and Australia: Outback Modernism

Pugnale, Alberto

November 2017 | Article

Exhibition and catalogue review, Architecture Australia (summary on hardcopy, full review online). The cultural legacy of Pier Luigi Nervi, one of Italy’s most influential modern architect-engineers, was the subject of the Pier Luigi Nervi and Australia: Outback Modernism Exhibition (6–16 June 2017). Held at the Harry Seidler-designed QV1 Building in...

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