Computational Design

2017/05/09 By Paul Jeffries

Open lecture by RCD lead Paul Jeffries


On Tuesday 16th May Paul Jeffries will be delivering a public lecture at Imperial College London entitled ‘Emergence: The development and future of computational design’.  The talk will be held in Room 201 of the Skempton Building and begins at 18:30.  All are welcome to attend.

2017/02/13 By Paul Jeffries

Ramboll Leadership Conference 2017 Bridge


For the 2017 Ramboll Leadership Conference in Copenhagen, which took place on the 22nd and 23rd of January, RCD was involved in a collaboration between the Transport and Buildings departments to design and construct a ‘bridge’ installation between their respective stands.  We had a little over a month to develop and manufacture the design so

2016/12/14 By Paul Jeffries

Parametric Engineering Course at Imperial College London


From January 2017, Imperial College London will be running an evening course on Parametric Engineering, co-taught by RCD lead Paul Jeffries.  The course will cover the application of Rhino and Grasshopper for computational design within an engineering context and is open to anybody in full time education or academic employment.  To apply contact Simply Rhino.

2016/12/01 By Paul Jeffries

What is Computational Design?


If you’ve arrived at this blog, you will probably have had some exposure to the concept of ‘computational design’.  You may also have heard some of the related terms that fall under this heading – ‘parametric design’, ‘algorithmic design’, ‘generative design’ and so on.  As computational design is still a relatively young and evolving field

2014/07/30 By stephenmelville

Henderson Colloquium

Henderson Colloquium_480x270

Building Structures Director Stephen Melville was recently invited to the Digital Design-themed Henderson Colloquium. The aim of the annual event is to bring together a select group of industry experts to discuss a subject of topical importance with a view of making recommendations to the engineering and construction industry. The invitation to attend the roundtable

2014/07/25 By

Smartgeometry 2014


Kristjan Nielsen of the RCD team has recently returned from Hong Kong, where he helped run the SG2014 workshop cluster entitled: The Bearable Lightness of Being. The goal of the cluster was to design and construct a flexible, light-weight and optimised pavilion, through the use of grasshopper plug-ins Karamba and Octopus. More information on the cluster

2014/07/25 By

Paper accepted at Advances in Architectural Geometry Conference


The RCD team have recently had a paper accepted at the AAG Conference, held this year in London on 18th-22nd September. The paper describes the work done by RCD during the Ongreening Pavilion project, constructed in March this year. In the paper, the form-finding process of a bending active shell structure is described, as well

2014/06/17 By rcd

Vanke Pavilion Update


RCD and Ramboll Italy have assisted in the geometric tiling of the Vanke Pavilion, by Libeskind Studio for Milan Expo 2015. The pavilion’s doubly curved exterior will be clad in bespoke ceramic tiles of identical size and shape. In order to achieve this, we developed an algorithm similar to the Chebyshev Net approach to generate

2014/06/17 By rcd



RCD are currently working with KAAN Architecten on PLANTA, a new Art Museum to be situated in Lleida, Spain. The building is a reinforced concrete single storey structure, partially buried underground. As part of the ongoing design, we produced an optimisation study for the 200x70m concrete waffle roof slab in order to improve its efficiency.

2014/06/16 By rcd

Papworth Trust Timber Shell


The Ramboll UK Cambridge office have constructed a small timber shell for the Papworth Trust, a local charity that works with those who have learning disabilities. RCD assisted by generating the plate shell geometry, using the planar remeshing method previously seen on the TRADA Pavilion. The method allows doubly curved shells to be constructed with

2014/06/12 By rcd

OBU Rain Pavilion paper accepted for eCAADe 2014

eCAADe fusion

RCD’s work on the intelligent modelling of voids in the stems and canopies of the Oxford Brookes School of Architecture Rain Pavilion has been accepted as a paper to the eCAADe 2014 conference in November. The paper Populating surfaces with holes using particle repulsion based on scalar fields will be presented at the annual gathering

2014/03/17 By rcd

OnGreening Ecobuild 2014 pavilion


The 2014 EcoBuild exhibition at London’s Excel centre opened this week and an egg-shaped plywood pavilion designed for OnGreening’s stand at the event is showcasing the work of Ramboll Computational Design (RCD). OnGreening is a new web-based platform devoted to the research and profiling of green building technologies. The organisation required a pavilion and lecture

2014/03/17 By rcd

Design role on Milan 2015 Expo pavilion


Ramboll Computational Design has been appointed to provide structural and in addition to computational design services on a pavilion to be built in Milan for EXPO 2015. We will work with Studio Daniel Libeskind and VANKE, China’s largest residential developer, to design and build their Pavilion. By using generative modelling and coding techniques, the computational

2014/01/08 By rcd

Oxford Brookes Rain Pavilion

Rain Pavlion_small

RCD have collaborated with the staff and students of the Architecture and Fine Arts departments at Oxford Brookes University on a striking new urban intervention/sculptural pavilion at the entrance of the new Abercrombie building. The structure compromises 20 extremely tall and slender steel ‘trees’ that support a thin folded steel plate ‘leaf’ or canopy. The

2013/12/12 By rcd

TRADA Shell Form-finding


The TRADA Pavilion project from 2012 used numerical form-finding to derive its shape. By using shape functions to apply a dynamic load at each node, a continuous funicular (compression only) shell was found.

2013/12/12 By rcd

KREOD recognised at Structural Awards

IStructE awards

The KREOD Pavilion has won a coveted Structural Award at the prestigious ceremony at The Brewery in London.  The awards are held annually by the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) to celebrate excellence in structural engineering both in the UK and internationally. The KREOD Pavilion won the Small Project award. KREOD Pavilion is a sustainable,

2013/11/11 By rcd

Presentation – Bartlett Plexus 8


As part of the Bartlett School of Architecture Plexus series of lectures John Harding of the Ramboll Computational Design team spoke about structural form-finding at RCD. The talk focussed on how computation can help to bridge the gap between architecture and engineering at the early stages of projects where there is most to be gained.

2013/10/28 By rcd

Indian Toilets

indian schoolchildren - Theli after school program_low res

Ramboll Computational Design (RCD) has been selected to design modular toilet buildings for schools throughout India. The client is a joint venture between a UK-based investor who specialises in funding female entrepreneurs throughout the developing world and NVH Technology, an award-winning entrepreneurial provider of sanitation services in India. The client plans to expand their range of

2013/09/02 By rcd

John Harding to present Trada pavilion at IASS 2013

IASS 2013

John Harding of the RCD team will be presenting our work on the Trada pavilion at the International Associate for Shell and Spatial Structures symposium in Wroclaw, Poland on the 23rd September 2013. The talk, simply titled The TRADA Pavilion – A Timber Plate Funicular Shell will be given as part of the session dedicated to Structural Morphology

2013/08/30 By rcd

Burning Man, Nevada

Burning Man small_2

The Rambøll Computational Design (RCD) team were invited to help design a number of installations at the world-famous Burning Man Festival in Nevada, USA this year by Westminster University School of Architecture. Burning Man is an annual event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. It takes place annually beginning on the last

2013/08/16 By rcd

IStructE awards shortlisting for KREOD


The KREOD Pavilion has secured a place on the 2013 Structural Awards shortlist. The Structural Awards are held annually by the IStructE to celebrate international excellence in structural engineering.  KREOD has been shortlisted for the Small Projects award. The full shortlist can be found on the Structural Awards website. http://www.istructe.org/structuralawards/2013/the-shortlist/small-projects/kreod-pavilion

2013/06/21 By rcd

Foyer 2.0 Triaxial weave shell

Creative Installations Event_0071_low res

Ramboll Computational Design have conceived and created a weave shell structure from strips of Perspex to transform the foyer of our London studio. The unique doubly-curved triaxial mesh shell installation explores how engineering, digital fabrication, and imagination can fill the boundaries of the space. It inherits the tradition of innovation and material exploration from our 2011 Foyer

2013/06/21 By rcd

London Festival of Architecture Chalkboard installation

LFA_low res

Ramboll engineers have conceived the Fitzrovia Chalkboard for the Great Titchfield Street Festival as part of London Festival of Architecture 2013. One of a number of events planned for the month long festival, the inaugural street project will promote positive change in the area, transforming Great Titchfield Street – from Mortimer Street up to Langham

2013/06/20 By rcd

Geode Radio 4 Listening Pod


RCD collaborated with Architects and light installation artists Cinemod on the design for the RIBA organised Radio 4 Listening Pod competition, a brief to create a portable and memorable looking recording studio. Christened the Geode, the pod was inspired by natural mineral formation and by the TPI mesh surface techniques developed by us on the Trada

2013/06/19 By rcd

KREOD shortlisted for a BCI Award


Our KREOD proejct has been shortlisted for the BCI (British Construction Industry) awards in the Product Design/Innovation category. We are extremely pleased and congratulations to our collaborators Pavilion Architecture without whose vision and tenacity the project would not have moved forward in the way it did. The awards are announced on the 9th October at

2013/05/17 By rcd

Oxford Brookes Forum sculpture

OBU Alu box 160513

Working in collaboration with the staff and students of Oxford Brookes School of Architecture we are prototyping the new Forum sculpture, a 4metres high by 25metres long installation which is  to be built within the courtyard of the new Abercrombe building. The structure is to be a series of aluminium plate boxes following the lines

2013/04/22 By rcd

RCD talk at Building Envelopes Asia

clustering render

Duncan Horswill and Mark Pniewski represented Ramboll Computational Design at the 4th Annual Building Envelopes Asia conference in Singapore on the 17th and 18th April. The conference is in its fourth year and brings together 25 world class speakers to discuss cost efficient design as well as engineering and material technologies for high performance building

2013/02/27 By rcd

Searching for Innovation and Elegance in Complex Forms paper presented at Prototyping Architecture 2013

prototyping architecture

Harri Lewis and Stephen Melville of the Ramboll Computational Design team presented their paper ‘ TRADA Pavilion – Searching for Innovation and Elegance in Complex Forms Supported by Physical and Software Prototyping’ (authors Harri Lewis, Stephen Melville and John Harding) at the the Prototyping Architecture conference at the Building Centre, London. An e-book of the conference

2013/02/12 By rcd

KREOD wins best temporary structure at the Surface Design Awards


The KREOD, a temporary exhibition space designed by Pavilion Architecture and Ramboll Computational Design, has won the best temporary structure at the 2013 Surface Design Awards. The Surface Design Awards recognise progressive design and the use of innovative surfaces in design projects, both in the UK and internationally. The awards also highlight the wealth of

2013/02/02 By rcd

Finding Form: Embedding materiality in Computational Design lecture

HL_JH MTS Colloquium

John Harding and Harri Lewis of the Ramboll Computational Design team recently gave a talk on ‘Finding Form: Embedding materiality in Computational Design’ at the Materials, Tectonics and Structures Colloquium at the University of Nottingham School of Architecture. The talk was well received and generated a lively debate.

2013/02/02 By rcd

Planar re-meshing of a high resolution mesh


Planar re-meshing of high resolution mesh

2013/02/02 By rcd

Belvedere Vodka RED sculpture


Belvedere Vodka Sculpture    

2013/02/02 By rcd

Tetra Shed


Working with Architects Innovation Imperative, Ramboll Computation Design have helped with digital fabrication advice and structural analysis of a small and potentially adaptable ‘garden office’. Tetra Shed is a free standing single-storey timber structure designed to create an architecturally striking and comfortable space that can be internally adapted to suit the unique requirements of every

2013/01/03 By rcd

Arts Alliance mobile venue

aa small snapshot

In this unique project the client, digital film distributor Arts Alliance, wanted a lightweight, easily transportable venue to house its new performance of ID: Identity of the Soul on a worldwide tour. The brief required a structure that would meet the technical requirements for video projection and surround sound during live performances, as well as

2012/12/03 By rcd

Belvedere Vodka RED sculpture


Rambøll Computational Design (RCD) and artists Loop.ph have completed the design and erection of a 6m tall carbon fibre and perspex arch structure for Belvedere Vodka’s RED street party in New York, USA. Taking over Manhattan’s Meatpacking district with a dramatic light show and music, the event was a one of a number of international

2012/11/07 By rcd

Trada and KREOD pavilions shortlisted


Both the Trada and KREOD pavilions have been shortlisted for the Surface Design awards in the temporary structures category. The awards are announced on the 7th February 2013. Full details can be found here

2012/10/10 By rcd

Trada pavilion exhibited at the Prototyping Architecture Exhibition 2012


A full size trial erection of one of the plywood timber legs of the Trada Expo pavilion will be exhibited at the Prototyping Architecture Exhibition in Nottingham starting 17th October. The trial was undertaken to test the stiffness of the reciprocal support panels, the ease of erection, quality of finish and the effect of adding

2012/09/27 By rcd

Trada Pavilion

Photo 23-09-2012 19 56 57_low res

Ramboll’s Trada Pavilion, a plywood structure inspired by the efficient curved forms of Frei Otto and Heinz Isler, was unveiled to the public for the first time this week at the Timber Expo 2012. The exhibition is the premier show in the UK for all those involved in the timber sector. Trada commissioned Ramboll’s computational

2012/09/18 By rcd

KREOD Pavilion


The KREOD (formerly known as Dpod) pavilion, located at the North Greenwich Olympic site, has now been completed – a significant event as it marks the culmination of a challenging design and fabrication process. KREOD is a sustainable, portable, demountable and multi-functional indoor or outdoor exhibition space that will be installed in multiple locations within

2012/08/17 By rcd

Harri Lewis & John Harding to speak at Trada Expo 2012

trada cropped

The creators of Trada’s pavilion structure for Expo 2012 will be speaking about the inspiration, design and modelling of the freeform planar mesh plywood shell on 25th/26th September. http://www.timber-expo.co.uk/    

2012/08/09 By rcd

Stephen Melville to speak at DKT, Den Kloke Tegning, Oslo


Stephen Melville of Ramboll’s Computational Design team has been invited to speak at the Den Kloke Tegning (The Smart Drawing) in Oslo on 25th October 2012. Details are here: http://www.denkloketegning.no/

2012/08/08 By rcd

John Harding to present a paper at AAG2012


John Harding of the RCD team together with Sam Joyce, Paul Shepherd and Chris Williams of the University of Bath has been selected to present a paper on Thinking Topologically at Early Stage Parametric Design at the Advances in Architectural Geometry conference in Paris, September 27-30. http://aag12.architecturalgeometry.at/?page_id=552  

2012/07/04 By rcd

Thinking Topologically for Early Stage Parametric Design


John Harding’s current EngD topic looks into the inflexibility of parametric modelling software for the early stage of design. By using techniques in genetic programming (GP), a new way of working with parametric models is proposed. The idea was recently published at the Advances in Architectural Geometry Conference in Paris. Abstract: “Parametric modelling tools have

2012/07/04 By rcd

Paper – Associative spatial networks in architectural design

spatial networks

Harding, J. and Derix, C., 2011. Associative spatial networks in architectural design: Artificial cognition of space using neural networks with spectral graph theory. In: Design Computing and Cognition ’10. New York: Springer Science and Business Media, pp. 305-323. Paper BibTeX  

2012/07/04 By rcd

Structural form finding using zero-length springs with dynamic mass

zero length springs

Paper presented at the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures Symposium, 2011. Abstract: “This paper describes a new method for the form-finding of funicular structures in two or three dimensions using a zero-length spring system with dynamic nodal masses. The resulting found geometry consists of purely axial forces under self-weight, with zero bending moment

2012/07/04 By rcd

Real time engineering feedback during conceptual design

Tower 057

With input from several Architectural practices in Denmark we are currently working on an application which models and evaluates alternative commercial tower typologies in real-time, giving instant performance feedback during the early design stages where the most important decisions are made but also when the least amount of time is available. Evaluation criteria include solar

2012/06/30 By rcd

Geodesic dome scheme – confidential

Dome 090

As part of the feasibility study into the most efficient structure for a dome over two hundred metres in diameter Ramboll Computational Design built upon and refined the techniques developed for the Tallinn Town Hall roof project. A double skin stick and node structure is automatically generated within the semi sphere volume first using the

2012/06/30 By rcd

Museum roof – confidential

war museum roof

The design for the roof structure of the roof of a National museum in North Africa used our own software to automatically generate efficient funicular forms by dynamic relaxation. The components of the roof were thus uniformly tensioned, use a minimal amount of material and benefit from the visual harmony of repeatable section profiles throughout

2012/06/30 By rcd

Corporate HQ, Finland – Confidential

Principle stress line slab

Our competition entry for the headquarters and research building of a large corporation in Finland exploited the ideas first postulated by Pier Luigi Nervi at the Gatti Wool factory in 1953. Lines of principle stress are joined to form ribs in the soffit of a reinforced concrete flat slab. The volume of concrete is reduced

2012/06/29 By rcd

Trada pavilion – planar hexagonal mesh


Our pavilion for Trada is progressing with a deadline of 11 weeks until it has to be built and ready to receive the public. The structure is proving to be incredibly complex for an installation of only 6m by 8m on plan and made even more challenging due to the decision to adopt a planar

2012/03/30 By rcd

D_pod pavilion joint passes test


The D_pod pavilion took a step closer to reality recently with the completion of the joint testing at Cambridge University. The pavilion has changed a great deal since the first iteration back in 2010. The mesh is hexagonal rather than quadrilateral meaning a different approach has been needed to the engineering of the joints in order

2012/01/31 By rcd

Structuring Architecture at Oxford Brookes University

principle stress flyer

As part of his role as a part time Structural Engineering tutor at Oxford Brookes School of Architecture, Stephen Melville will be giving a lecture on Thursday 2nd February on the subject ‘Structuring Architecture’. This is a great opportunity to help convey the principles of collaboration and critical thought in the overlapping space of Architectural Design

2012/01/18 By rcd

Computational Design Lecture at TU Delft


Stephen Melville recently gave a lecture to the Architectural faculty of the Technical University of Delft on Computational Design and the practical application of the RCD team’s on-going research to live projects and future directions such as urbanism. The lecture was at the invitation of the high rise unit of the school.

2012/01/05 By rcd

Riba forgotten spaces competition

Forgetten Spaces2

With Texere Studios, this was the first time we applied the research into digital urbanism and the science of emergent behaviour. taking the free roaming ponies in the new Forest as a inspiration for a traffic calming measure in a london site we helped with a design which created an inner city farm with sheep

2012/01/05 By rcd

Maljevik Bay, Montenegro

In-house routine to automatically determine the roof shape required for a certain level of solar shading

Working with Foster + Partners we developed an in-house routine to automatically determine the optimum three dimensional roof form giving the right degree of internal solar shading in the new villa structures on the coastline of Montenegro.   The application automatically shapes the roofs of villas in relation to the solar shading needed. We were

2012/01/05 By rcd

London funnel sculpture


A least energy structure the form being determined by rcd’s own routines together with principle curvature mapping to form efficient framing   The timber members were set out in relation to the lines of principle curvature on the efficient surface. we developed the routines to do this and it enables a simple orthogonal structure to

2012/01/04 By rcd

Riga Airport Competition

riga inverse_snapshot

Computational analysis of caternaries enhances 3D modelling capability   On a competition submission for Riga Airport, the RCD group used computerised analysis to model the undulating roof structure which was inspired by the catenary form. In the 19th century Gaudi defined the form of his iconic La Sagrada Família by making scale physical models using

2012/01/04 By rcd

Presidential Library Astana

highlyOptimised_001.jpg 2001×1258 pixels

An algorithm inspired by electrical behaviour of sub-atomic particles rationalises a complex facade   Both archive and museum, the National Library will be a place for work and study, as well as education and tourism. A place for progress and a place for pleasure. As a national concentration of knowledge about the Kazakh culture and

2011/12/30 By rcd

Greenland National Gallery


Using digital intelligence to identify lines of principle stress in a structure. For the competition-winning design of the new Greenland National Gallery the RCD group developed a reinforced concrete slab solution that looked original and striking while also being more energy efficient than a conventional reinforced concrete flat slab. The engineering design was based on

2011/12/26 By rcd

D_pod pavilion


Computational analysis optimises uniquely curved form D-Pod is a multi-use temporary grid shell structure. The architect’s original design (created using parametric software) posited each member as both curving and twisting. However, elements are often easier to fabricate if they are curved in one direction only. Connection detailing is also easier to standardise and therefore less

2011/12/26 By rcd

Tallinn Town Hall roof


Volume packing and repulsion driven algorithm. The new town hall for Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a structure composed of 13 intersection boxes, the largest of which is a 60m tall tower comprising the main council chamber and 37m high lightweight glazed façade. A deep roof structure incorporating a staircase to take visitors to

2011/12/26 By rcd

Tallinn Town Hall


Algorithm mimics natural selection to evolve optimal structure. The new town hall for Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a structure composed of 13 intersecting boxes, each of which cantilevers a considerable distance from inset columns at ground floor level. The side walls of each box are blank and therefore provided the opportunity to hide