Orozco, L. (2024). Co-Design and Agent-Based Methods for Multi-Storey Wood Building Systems. [Doctoral Thesis, University of Stuttgart.] 

Timber, the most widely used natural material in the construction industry, can sequester carbon as it grows and store it in the built environment. However, due to the logistically mandated orthogonal shape of raw and conventionally prefabricated Engineered Wood Products and the limited single spans they can achieve, most contemporary timber buildings currently only have one of a restricted set of uses, with little possibility for reuse. This limits timber's utility in urban environments, which often require filling in irregular sites and extending existing structures. It also limits the building industry's potential environmental contributions. These restrictions could be overcome by using interdisciplinary organisational and computational design methods. 

This research investigates new ways to design wood buildings through improved cross-discipline collaboration. First, it evaluates co-design as a means of integrating different disciplines throughout the design process by applying it to the design of a prototype building. Then, it proposes agent-based methods for procedurally and interactively negotiating between conflicting sets of optimisation criteria. Agent-based simulations were developed for the placement of columns, the subdivision of floor plates into fabricable and transportable slab segments, and the reinforcement of these segments with internal members. These developments built upon a framework for timber building systems and their data structures. These methods were then tested on the design and fabrication of timber buildings across a range of scales and resolutions.

This research demonstrates that innovative computational and organisational methods can results in an increased design space for multi-storey timber buildings. This results in an expanded palette of building types, and an increased contribution by the building sector to the global environmental and humanitarian housing crises.
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