American Society of Civil Engineers


Organic and Natural Forms in Building Design


by M. Sarkisian, (SE, Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, San Francisco, CA), P. Lee, (SE, Associate Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, San Francisco, CA), E. Long, (SE, Associate Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, San Francisco, CA), and D. Shook, (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, San Francisco, CA)
Section: Tall Buildings, pp. 2840-2851, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/41130(369)257)

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Structures Congress 2010
Abstract: Safe, efficient structural forms are abundant in nature. The challenge, however, is to quantify these forms and to derive behavior that is adaptable, constructible and cost effective. Adaptations and mathematical derivations that use nature’s mechanics in structural design have led to innovations in structural systems. These organically-inspired structural systems typically exhibit interesting aesthetic qualities which are not necessarily intuitive. Natural structural systems may also incorporate devices that understand and respond to demand, alter behavior, and ensure optimal performance. Three conceptual structural systems are considered which example the use of organic and natural forms in building design. First, bamboo geometric properties as they relate to structural efficiency are examined and applied to the China World Trade Center Tower Competition. Second, organic growth patterns form the perimeter structural framework of the Transbay Transit Tower Competition. Third, nature-inspired genetic algorithms are used to optimize the perimeter cable filigree of the Al Sharq Tower.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Building design