International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS)

Cambridge, MA
Monday, July 16, 2018

Optional Programs
IASS will host the following optional programs which are included in the cost of your registration unless otherwise noted. Space is limited. Tickets must be reserved at the time of registration and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Women in Engineering and Design: Panel Discussion

Tuesday, July 17 from 1:00 - 2:30PM
Building E14, 6th Floor
Featuring both established and rising women in the field, this panel discussion and boxed lunch takes on topics related to careers in structural design and the female experience. Moderated by Professor Maria Garlock of Princeton University. Participants must pre-register to attend, as spaces are limited.
All genders are welcome at this event.
Not included in Student Non-Presenter and Accompanying Person registrations.
Student Non-Presenters may purchase a ticket @ $25.

Young Designers' Reception sponsored by Guy Nordenson and Associates
Tuesday, July 17 from 7:30 - 10:00PM
Building E14, 6th Floor
Come meet your colleagues and exchange ideas over drinks and light dinner overlooking the Boston skyline. Participants must pre-register to attend, as spaces are limited.  
Both young designers (age 35 and younger) and those young at heart are welcome.
Not included in Student Non-Presenter and Accompanying Person registrations.
Student Non-Presenters may purchase a ticket @ $50.

Young Designers' Mentorship Lunch sponsored by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Wednesday, July 18 from 1:00 - 2:30PM
Building E14, 6th Floor
Seasoned leaders in the field answer your questions and share their career-building experiences over boxed lunch. Participants will be seated in small conversation groups directly with mentors to discuss professional paths in engineering and design. Participants must pre-register to attend, as spaces are limited.  
This event is especially targeted to young designers (age 35 and younger).
Not included in Student Non-Presenter and Accompanying Person registrations.
Student Non-Presenters may purchase a ticket @ $25.

IASS has organized the following workshops which are available at an additional fee. Tickets must be reserved at the time of registration and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited. 

Workshops and master classes will be held on Saturday, July 14 and/or Sunday, July 15, from approximately 9:00AM - 5:00PM daily with a break for lunch (not included). Registration costs are $100 for 2 day courses and $50 for 1 day courses, and participants must also be registered for the IASS 2018 conference. Participants are expected to bring their own laptops. For specific workshop or master class questions, please email the course organizers.

Machine Learning for Structural Design Space Exploration
2 Day Master Class, July 14 - 15
Fee: $100
Thornton Tomasetti COREStudio
Dan Reynolds,
Margaret Wang,
Kam-Ming Mark Tam,

Design exploration of architectural structures is a multi-dimensional non-linear process that involves many iterations and feedback from both designers and engineers. In order to provide performance feedback, design options must be analysed and considered - a process that can be a time-consuming and computationally intensive, and significantly limits the capacity for designers to effectively and expediently explore a design space. The problem is exacerbated by the advances in design computation and modelling methods, which are enabling increasingly complex architectural designs to be conceived. In recent times, designers and engineers have begun adopting various data-driven techniques, such as Machine Learning (ML), to develop prediction models that enables designers and engineers to obtain quick and reliable approximate measures of performance without the need for running an analysis and validation on each design option. However, the use of these methods - especially in their application to structural design - is not well understood, and can be used incorrectly to generate results that are neither reliable nor useful. The proposed masterclass seeks to demystify the structural application of ML - providing a walkthrough on the development of a prediction models using supervised and unsupervised learning techniques for the design of various structural primitives and basic building types, so that designers and engineers can incorporate these prediction methods for their future design space exploration. The masterclass begins with a summary review of the fundamental concepts of ML. Using parametric modelling and structural analytical tools available for Grosshopper 3-D, participants will then generate the initial training and test data required for developing a model. Next, the prediction model will be constructed using customer plugins developed by CORE Studio and other open-source plugins. Finally, bespoke user interfaces will be developed within Grasshopper to allow participants to navigate the design space using results predicted by their ML model.

Structural NURBS - Form-Finding and Design of Complex Structures with Isogeometric Methods
2 Day Master Class, July 14 - 15
Fee: $100

Philipp Längst, M.Sc., str.ucture GmbH,
Anna Bauer, M.Sc., Chair of Structural Analysis Structural Analysis, Technical University of Munich,
Riccardo La Manga, Dr.-ing, str.ucture GmbH,

The master class will explore mesh-free modelling and simulation of complex structural systems with the Isogeometric Analysis method. Isogeometric Analysis (IGA) is a new and innovative computational approach within Finite Element Analysis, which allows users to perform simulations of structural behavior directly on the NURBS parametrization of CAD geometry objects. The master class will use Kiwi3d, a new IGA-plugin developed by the master class organizers for Rhino and Grasshopper. Kiwi3d integrates modules for geometrical linear and nonlinear analysis as well as cutting-edge form-finding algorithms and building process routines directly embedded in the native NURBS definition of the model.

The master class aims to provide participants with fundamental knowledge in Isogeometric Analysis and the core principals for the correct setup of simulation routines. The course will consist of three parts. In the first part, the participants will be introduced to the principals and the computational method of IGA. These will be demonstrated through a variety of examples and exercises. The second part will focus on developing complex models and simulations within the fully integrated NURBS-based design-to-analysis pipeline. This will also include the form-finding and analysis of membrane and bending active structures, modelling and simulation of building processes and optimization-driven design. In the third part of the master class, the participants will develop personal design ideas with the support of the tutors. Optionally, small scale physical models will also be realized. All design and simulation results will be presented and discussed within the group.

Optimization-Driven Creativity in Structural Design
1 Day Workshop, July 15
Fee: $50
Matthew Gilbert, University of Sheffield,
Paul Shepherd, University of Bath
Linwei Ge, University of Sheffield
Andy Tyas, University of Sheffield
Jacek Gondzio, University of Edinburgh
Layout Optimization is a powerful technique that has to date been little exploited by the IASS community, or by construction professionals more generally. The technique can identify efficient structural forms for a range of constructions, including long-span roofs, gridshells, space-frames and tall building superstructures. It has some similarities with the more familiar topology optimization, but is better suited to the kinds of skeletal structures encountered in building structures.

Current UK government-funded research at the Universities of Sheffield, Bath and Edinburgh seeks to address a range of barriers to uptake. Outcomes thus far are promising and we have developed bespoke software called "FORM" (both as a stand-alone application and as a plug-in for Grasshopper) which makes it easy for a designer to use these tools at the concept design stage. We wish to share the methods developed with members of the IASS community at this workshop, while also providing background on the theory and hands-on workshop sessions using the software.

Participants will benefit by being exposed to state-of-the-art methods which are likely to be unfamiliar to them and will challenge their preconceptions about the value and power of "optimization", particularly as a creative design tool.

Computational Graphic Statics using COMPAS
2 Day Master Class, July 14 - 15
Fee: $100
Prof. Philippe Block
Dr. Tom Van Mele,
Dr. Tomás Méndez Echenagucia
Patrick Ohlbrock
Juney Lee
In this master class participants will learn how to use advanced 2D and 3D graphic statics, using computational methods through COMPAS, an open source, Python-based framework for “computational research in architecture and structures” developed by the Block Research Group at ETH Zurich. On the first day, we will set up a development environment for scientific programming that will be used throughout the workshop, followed by a “scientific Python 101”. The introduction covers key concepts of the COMPAS framework and a series of representative code examples related to computational graphic statics. The second day we will explore the structural design possibilities provided by specialized COMPAS packages for working with Algebraic Graph Statics (compas_ags), Thrust Network Analysis (compas_tna) and 3D Graphic Statics (compas_3gs).

Structural Morphology: Interactive Exploration of Transdisciplinary Research Challenges
2 Day Master Class, July 14 - 15
Fee: $100

Niels De Temmerman, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium,
Tomohiro Tachi, University of Tokyo, Japan
Rupert Malecek, UIBK, Austria
Christoph Gengnagel, UDK-Berlin, Germany
Julian Lienhard, TUM, Germany
Philippe Block, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Corentin Fivet, EPFL, Switzerland
As the SMG group is a working group with a large number of members (70+) and is built around four study groups with a specific topic of exploration, an intensified interaction is one of the focal points of its current activities.
Therefore, this master class will take the form of several combined master classes, each dealing with a specific topic, based on research questions that have surfaced within the study groups that make up the Structural Morphology Group. Delving deeper into these subtopics will not only bring hand-on solutions and interesting insights that can act as a catalyst for further research and exploration, they also will facilitate interaction between current and new study group members. Additionally (and potentially), this could lead to a new field of study to be pursued within SMG.

Currently the following cross-over topics are proposed, but additional themes can be put forward:
  • Transformables + active bending
  • Active bending + origami
  • Scissor structures and surface folding
  • Transformables and graphic statics
The output of these combined masterclass, will be presented in the SMG Common Session at the conference, to show future potential.