Multidisciplinary design optimization of building envelope components

Researchers involved:

  • Gieljan Vantyghem (PhD researcher)
  • Wouter De Corte (supervisor)
  • Veerle Boel (supervisor)
  • Marijke Steeman (supervisor)





Due to advancements in computer-based modeling, simulation and optimization, performance-based design is becoming state-of-the-art practice in engineering and the overall building industry. General optimization based on structural aspects only, leads to cost minimization as well as a certain performance and efficiency maximization. However, considering building envelope components, more aspects should be taken into consideration. These components should be designed to meet the requirements such as durability, sustainability, thermal and hygrothermal requirements as well. As such, a multidisciplinary approach in design optimization is needed.

The overall goal of this research project is to improve the design process of building envelope components using state-of-the-art MDO techniques and demonstrate their efficiency and effectiveness for problems that are complex or non-intuitive.

Three main scientific objectives:

        1. To acquire critical reasoning with respect to the formulation of multidisciplinary design problems and understand the concept of ‘value-driven design’. 

        2. To improve the efficiency of MDO techniques by developing new optimization strategies and identifying the most economical and productive optimization methods for specific building envelope design problems. 

        3. To extend existing topology optimization methods to enable optimizations with multiple disciplines taking into account material and geometrical nonlinearity. 

 Ultimately, the project results will allow product developers and building material designers to create high-quality products within a shorter development time. By considering multiple disciplines at once, the technique will provide innovative and more efficient designs (Fig.1).


Figure 1. Structural and thermal optimization of masonry blocks
Figure 1. Structural and thermal optimization of masonry blocks

Most important publications:

G. Vantyghem. “Topology optimization as a Design tool for Structural Engineering Applications.” MSc. Thesis, Ghent University, Belgium, 2015.

G. Vantyghem, W. De Corte, V. Boel and M. Steeman. “Structural and Thermal Performances of Topological Optimized Masonry Blocks,” presented at ACSMO 2016, Nagasaki, Japan, 2016.

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