Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

The practical optimisation of complex architectural forms


GA, building form, low-energy design, multi-zone, encoding floor plan, layout, constrained optimisation, geometry optimisation


The energy consumption of a building and its internal conditions are intimately related to its shape. There have been various attempts to use computer-based optimisation within a thermal simulation environment to produce designs with minimal energy consumption. Most of these studies have looked at optimising parameters such as U-values and glazing ratios, but a small number have looked into the form of the building, but in a way that does not naturally fit with the human-led design process. In this paper, the first practical methodology for optimising complex building facades and internal layouts is presented. The method allows for a free exploration of new, non-preconceived, design solutions in a way that complements the natural design process. The method has been tested on a design with eight facades. The rapid convergence of glazing ratios for all runs indicates their significance in the energy performance of a building. The solutions display a high degree of variability of floor shape without a compromise in performance, which indicates that human judgment can still be used as a filter even within an optimising framework. Typical solutions produced by the method show an annual total energy demand of 56 kWh/m2, 51% lower than typical for the region in which the building was sited.


Tsinghua University Press