Integral structural optimization and fabrication seeks the synthesis of two original approaches; that of topological optimization (TO) and robotic hotwire cutting (HWC) (Mcgee 2011). TO allows for the reduction of up to 70% of the volume of concrete to support a given structure (Sondergaard & Dombernowsky 2011). A strength of the method is that it allows to come up with structural designs that lie beyond the grasp of traditional means of design. A design space is a discretized volume, delimiting where the optimization will take place. The number of cells used to discretize the design space thus sets the resolution of the TO. While the approach of the application of TO as a constitutive design tool centers on structural aspects in the design phase (Xie 2010), the outcome of this process are structures that cannot be realized within a conventional budget. As such the ensuing design is optimal in a narrow sense; whilst optimal structurally though, construction can be prove to be prohibitively expensive.
Proceedings of the 30th International Conference on Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe: Digital Physicality | Physical Digitality, 2012