Publications: Conference Paper

Enhancing interactivity in structural optimisation through reinforcement learning: an application on shell structures

Mirra Gabriele, Pugnale Alberto

July 2023 | Conference Paper

This paper describes a novel approach to structural optimisation based on learning design strategies rather than searching for optimal solutions. In the proposed approach, an AI agent is trained through Reinforcement Learning (RL) to explore a 3D modelling environment and iteratively morph a flat NURBS surface into a doubly-curved shell...


Aeolus: a Grasshopper plugin for the interactive design and optimisation of acoustic shells

Mirra Gabriele, Mack Michael, Pugnale Alberto

July 2023 | Conference Paper

The design of music venues, such as concert halls and open-air concert stages, requires an integrated approach in which the acoustic response of the space being created is evaluated at every stage of the process to inform its formal development and associated performance. Various software exists to assess acoustic performance:...


Using technology innovation and blended delivery for student-centred learning in large undergraduate classes

Holzer Dominik, Pugnale Alberto

June 2023 | Conference Paper

Delivery methods of Higher Education classes have been scrutinised globally during the COVID-19 pandemic as academics and students were forced to shift rapidly to online delivery modes. In a post-COVID-19 scenario innovative teaching and learning approaches are required to rethink how large student cohorts can be educated online and on...


Computational design and robotic fabrication of a self-supporting acoustic shell

Loh Paul, Mirra Gabriele, Leggett David, Pugnale Alberto

July 2022 | Conference Paper

]This paper presents the development and application of a computational workflow for the design and fabrication of acoustic concrete shells. The workflow allows controlling the shape of small, curved panels that can be assembled into continuous surfaces. The panels are designed to comply with the robotic fabrication requirements of a...


The Airshell prototype: a timber gridshell erected through a pneumatic formwork

Liuti, Alessandro, Pugnale, Alberto & Colabella, Sofia

September 2017 | Conference Paper

This paper presents the construction of Airshell, a small timber gridshell prototype erected by employing a pneumatic formwork. Inspired by the work of Frei Otto and Dante Bini, the technique is based on a pneumatic membrane and an Arduino® board – the former used as dynamic formwork and the latter...


Building timber gridshells with air: Numerical simulations and technique challenges

Liuti, Alessandro, D’Amico, Bernardino & Pugnale, Alberto

July 2016 | Conference Paper

Construction has always been a fascinating and challenging aspect of timber gridshells. So far, only three techniques have successfully been used for the erection of such structures: the so-called ‘lift-up’, ‘push-up’ and ‘ease-down’ (Quinn et al. 2015). Inflatable Membrane Technology is here proposed as a new solution and is tested...


Erection of post-formed gridshells by means of inflatable membrane technology

Liuti, Alessandro & Pugnale, Alberto

December 2015 | Conference Paper

This paper describes a new erection technique for post-formed timber gridshells which takes advantage of inflatable membrane technology. Consolidated construction techniques for timber gridshells are based either on “pull-up” / “push-up” (i.e. Mannheim Multihalle) or “ease-down” behavior (i.e. Downland Open Air Museum). However, these techniques show shortcomings already at small...


Dante Bini’s “New Architectural Formulae”: Construction, Collapse and Demolition of Binishells in Australia 1974-2015

Pugnale, Alberto & Bologna, Alberto

July 2015 | Conference Paper

The Italian architect Dante Bini began his studies on shell structures during the 1960s. He developed and refined a form-finding and construction technique to erect a finished large-span reinforced concrete (RC) shell structure through the use of an inflatable membrane. This system was patented in 1964 under the name ‘Binishell’...


Computational Morphogenesis applied to the Church of Longuelo: Reflections upon a possible parametric interpretation of the original design concepts

Liuti, Alessandro & Pugnale, Alberto

December 2014 | Conference Paper

Before the introduction of NURBS-based CAD software and optimisation, the design of form-resistant structures was based on the use of either experimental tools (physical form-finding) or analytical surfaces, and architects were challenged in the articulation of spaces from the intrinsic characteristics/rules of structural forms. An outstanding example of this kind...