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Building Virtual Architectures for Real

Building Virtual Architectures for Real

Samples of students’ works

As it is well known, buildings are made of thousands of parts such as building components, products and materials: a complex system of different interrelated entities assembled and, in many cases, produced in that special factory that is the construction site. Computational design, and more specifically the parametrical approach, are new powerful tools that allow to speed up production and to give full control on design. But these changes require a radical rethinking on the way designers draw. Designers are now asked not to draw lines but objects with specific attributes and parameters.


The present works are samples of students’ assignments where this complex reality is represented through the construction of a virtual architecture analyzing physical entities, identifying technological parts, specifying their relationships, and quantifying its component materials.

These works are  focused on cost estimation as a teaching strategy to guide students towards an understanding of the materiality of the construction and the correct application of the individual elements in the building system. Great attention has been paid to the reinforced concrete cost as this material / product is probably one of the most difficult to determine in the preliminary phases. In fact, reinforced concrete is a composite material deriving from the combination of different cements, steels, formworks and highly variable in relation to the required strength, the location environment, and the geometry of the elements. For this reason reinforced concrete is very hard to identify and estimate before the final structural calculations.

On the basis of these characteristics students were guided towards a parametric approach pre-setting different types of concrete in relation to the combination of the aforementioned parameters and pushing them in the identification of the correct use of these types for each elements forming the structural system in relation to the geometry, placement and mechanical function