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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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Sketches of Thought: Inside the Black Box of AI

Mirra Gabriele, Pugnale Alberto

February 2020 | Chapter

‘Sketches of Thought’ is a human-machine collaborative design system based on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The first aim of ‘Sketches of Thought’ is illustrating an approach to AI-integration within the designer’s creative workflow. The system translates a hand-drawn architecture sketch into a photorealistic image that suggests a possible evolution of the...

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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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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...

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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...

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