Pierluigi D'Acunto

Pierluigi D'Acunto
Technische Universität München | TUM

Dr. sc. ETH Zurich

About

52
Publications
48,552
Reads
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221
Citations
Introduction
Pierluigi is an Assistant Professor of Structural Design at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). His research explores the convergence of architecture and structural engineering through computer-aided design and emerging construction technologies. His research interests are geometry-based methods for structural design, computational design through equilibrium models, structural form-finding with machine learning, and fabrication-aware structural design using advanced digital manufacturing.
Additional affiliations
August 2018 - January 2021
ETH Zurich
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2014 - present
ETH Zurich
Position
  • Lecturer
Education
January 2013 - August 2018
ETH Zurich
Field of study
  • Structural Design
September 2010 - January 2012
Architectural Association School of Architecture
Field of study
  • Emergent Technologies and Design
September 2002 - September 2007
Università di Pisa
Field of study
  • Building Engineering and Architecture

Publications

Publications (52)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents a design strategy that aims to integrate structural and manufacturing considerations in the conceptual design of three-dimensional lattice structures for Injection 3D Concrete Printing (I3DCP). Early experiments with I3DCP showed that multiple structural and fabrication constraints need to be taken into consideration in terms of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper introduces Text2Form3D, a machine-learning-based design framework to explore the embedded descriptive representation of structural forms. Text2Form3D relies on a deep neural network algorithm that joins word embeddings, a natural language processing (NLP) technique, with the Combinatorial Equilibrium Modeling (CEM), a form-finding method...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Graphic statics can be used as a design and analysis tool to develop discrete rigid-plastic stress fields and their underlying strut-and-tie models in reinforced concrete structures. This approach relies on the construction of reciprocal Airy Stress Functions (ASF) to generate form and force diagrams; these diagrams are subsequently combined into M...
Chapter
Research on mobile Augmented Reality (AR) technologies has proven many potentials and benefits for assisting craftspeople in various building applications within the AEC domain. However, little research has been done on the use of multi-user mobile AR systems coordinating several people at the same time. This paper examines the potentials of a coll...
Chapter
Computational form-finding methods hold great potential for enabling resource-efficient structural design. In this context, the Combinatorial Equilibrium Modelling (CEM) allows the design of cross-typological tension-compression structures starting from an input topology diagram in the form of a graph. This paper presents an AI-assisted design work...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Building design is a complex, open-ended task that involves diverse disciplines and professionals. Architects and engineers are challenged with solving a variety of often-conflicting issues related to various aspects, such as space making, structural performance, energy consumption, and user comfort. Holistic design approaches allow for addressing...
Preprint
Full-text available
Focusing on Frei Otto’s research on the use of physical models for conceptual structural design inspired by natural processes, this paper studies the implementation of the Vector-based Graphic Statics (VGS) tool for bio-inspired structural form finding. The VGS tool enables interactive generation and transformation of structures in static equilibri...
Article
Full-text available
Reusing structural components has potential to reduce environmental impacts of building structures because it reduces new material use, energy consumption, and waste. When designing structures through reuse, available element characteristics become a design input. This paper presents a new computational workflow to design structures made of reused...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper proposes a computational approach to form-find pin-jointed, bar structures subjected to combinations of tension and compression forces. The generated equilibrium states can meet force and geometric constraints via gradient-based optimization. We achieve this by extending the Combinatorial Equilibrium Modeling (CEM) framework in three imp...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Structural engineers play an increasing role in ensuring the transition towards a more sustainable construction sector: a) they are responsible for the design of the most resource- and energy-intensive part of buildings and infrastructure, and b) they regularly interact with architects, contractors, and clients, and hence are full stakeholders in t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Façade design is a multi-disciplinary process that involves qualitative and quantitative aspects belonging to diverse disciplines – such as architecture, structural design and building physics. Since decisions made in the early design stage generally have a strong influence on the design outcome, the need for a holistic design strategy is evident....
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The paper presents a proposal for the structural preservation of the Basento Bridge in Potenza (1967-1975), designed by the engineer Sergio Musmeci (1926-1981) and regarded as one of the most relevant examples of 20 th century reinforced concrete infrastructures in Italy. The geometry of the Basento Bridge, which is the most characteristic feature...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Form finding is an effective approach for the conceptual design of structures. In the 1950s and 1960s, various form finding techniques flourished to create geometries that could not be realised with analytical models or graphical methods alone. The development of contemporary form finding owes much to the seminal work of a number of structural desi...
Article
Full-text available
The design of building envelopes requires a negotiation between qualitative and quantitative aspects belonging to different disciplines, such as architecture, structural design, and building physics. In contrast to hierarchical linear approaches in which various design aspects are considered and conceived sequentially, holistic frameworks allow suc...
Article
Full-text available
This article demonstrates the design potentials of a recently developed approach for generating smooth poly-hypar surfaces, freeform surfaces made of combinations of hyperbolic paraboloids (hypars). In a smooth poly-hypar surface, the double curvature of the individual hypar modules and the smooth connections between them ensure global bending-free...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The inherent interdisciplinarity in the design of building envelopes gives the opportunity to correlate different aspects within the boundaries of a single subsystem. In fact, designers have to account for parameters and criteria that belong to diverse fields – such as architecture, building physics, structural design and construction technology –...
Article
This article introduces a novel equilibrium-based form-finding approach for air-supported structures that relies on vector-based 3D graphic statics and the Combinatorial Equilibrium Modelling (CEM). The proposed approach is particularly suitable for the conceptual phase of the design process, as it allows generating a wide range of design options o...
Article
Full-text available
Although the analysis and design of structures in static equilibrium can be intuitively carried out using simple equilibrium-based methods such as graphic statics, the application of these methods to engineering problems that take into consideration specific material properties is generally limited. Within the domain of reinforced concrete, existin...
Article
This article presents a computer-aided design framework for the generation of non-standard structural forms in static equilibrium that takes advantage of the interaction between human and machine intelligence. The design framework relies on the implementation of a series of operations (generation, clustering, evaluation, selection, and regeneration...
Article
This article highlights the design potentials of a recently proposed form-driven approach for bending-active tensile structures, in which the geometry of the actively bent elements can be directly defined without the recourse to a form-finding procedure. The approach is applied to the design of a lightweight sun-shading system that can be used to p...
Article
This article introduces a series of significant enhancements to the Combinatorial Equilibrium Modelling (CEM), a computer-aided form-finding approach to generate and control three-dimensional structures in static equilibrium based on topological considerations. In comparison to the initial formulation of the CEM, this article presents various proce...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Graphic statics are currently experiencing a renaissance for the analysis and design of structures in static equilibrium while also showing the potential of being applied to the solution of a wide range of problems in other fields of structural engineering. The constitutive objects of this geometrical methodology are the 'form' and 'force' diagrams...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Graphic statics can be effectively used for the analysis and design of structures in static equilibrium and for solving engineering problems related to specific materials, most notably, reinforced concrete. In this regard, methods for the construction of stress fields and yield lines, based on the theory of plasticity , are particularly valuable; h...
Article
This article develops a vector-based 3D graphic statics framework that uses synthetic and intuitive graphical means for the analysis and design of spatial structures such as networks of bar elements in static equilibrium. It is intended to support the collaborative work of structural engineers and architects from the conceptual phase of the design...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Combinatorial Equilibrium Modelling (CEM) is a structural design framework based on graphic statics and graph theory [5] that allows to control directly the topology and the combinatorial state (distribution of the internal tension and compression forces) of a structure in equilibrium. The current development of the research extends the capabil...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The aim of this research is to introduce a novel structural design process that allows architects and engineers to extend their typical design space horizon and thereby promoting the idea of creativity in structural design. The theoretical base of this work builds on the combination of structural form-finding and state-of-the-art machine learning a...
Article
Full-text available
This paper proposes a unified and entirely geometrical methodology for generating 2D and 3D force diagrams for given planar and spatial trusses in static equilibrium within the context of graphic statics. The trusses, regarded as form diagrams, are projections of higher dimensional simply-connected stress functions, can be either self—stressed or l...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In recent years, a renewed interest in structural matters and interdisciplinarity has risen, bringing forward challenges in professional and academic practices. The present work seeks to contribute to this discussion by unfolding a conscious proposition as implemented by the Chair of Structural Design at the Department of Architecture of ETH Zurich...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The reciprocity between form and force diagrams in 2D graphic statics makes it possible to manipulate the form diagram while directly evaluating the redistribution of the forces within the force diagram. Conversely, after modifying the force diagram, the consequent transformation of the form diagram can be assessed at once. In the case of vector-ba...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents an extension of the Combinatorial Equilibrium Modelling (CEM) design framework. CEM gives the possibility to generate and explore multiple spatial equilibrium solutions in the early conceptual design phase. In addition to the form and force diagrams of graphic statics, CEM introduces a topological diagram, which allows to adjust...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
At the beginning of his career, the Italian engineer Sergio Musmeci (1926-1981) experimented widely with folded plate structures. Through the design of a series of reinforce concrete roofs, developed within a short time span (1954-1959), Musmeci exemplified his peculiar approach to structural folding by interpreting the principle of resistance thro...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Graphic statics provides an elegant and efficient method for equilibrium analysis of various types of structures. This is particularly the case for pin-jointed frameworks, for which the use of reciprocal form and force diagrams gives direct and simultaneous insights on the static behaviour of every structural member. On the other hand, plastic theo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The evaluation of the equilibrium of a system of forces that fulfills specified boundary conditions is a core question of theory of structures. This paper reviews three methods, related to procedures introduced at the end of the 19 th century, to evaluate the global equilibrium in three dimensions using graphic statics. The paper is specifically fo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Thanks to the experimental nature of his work, Sergio Musmeci (1926-1981) holds an exceptional position within the Italian School of Engineering of the postwar period. Musmeci's peculiar view on structural design is supported by the search for novel structural forms, which is initiated by his exploration on structural folding. In particular, during...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents an extension of the graphic-statics-based framework called Combinatorial Equilibrium Modelling (CEM). CEM allows for the generation of topologically and combinatorially different spatial equilibrium solutions in the early explorative design phase. In addition to the form and the force diagrams, CEM introduces a topological diagr...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents an approach to the extension of graphic statics force diagrams to the third dimension. The main focus is to build 3D force diagrams out of vectors, so that each edge in the form diagram corresponds to two parallel vectors in the force diagram; this pair of vectors can generally be overlapped to form one single edge. The issue of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper introduces a generative design method for architecture grounded on the stereotomic approach. The method is based on the application of the Boolean subtraction operation to integrate spatial and structural parameters in the conceptual phase of the design process. Working on a three‐dimensional form, which is displayed and studied as a sol...
Article
Full-text available
The evaluation of the equilibrium of a system of forces that fulfils specified boundary conditions is a core question of theory of structures. This paper reviews three methods, related to procedures introduced at the end of the 19th century, to evaluate the global equilibrium in three dimensions using graphic statics. The paper is specifically focu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The use of folding in design allows for the production of efficient structures capable to resist the external applied loads by form; additionally, folding is an effective way to generate forms that can address diverse spatial necessities. Developed as an entry to the IASS Expo 2015 out of a collaboration between the Chair of Structural Design at ET...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The present research is primarily focused on the investigation of architectural folding in the form of folded-plate structures. The goal of the research is to introduce a novel design method to consistently integrate structural folding in architecture. The proposed method is aimed at supporting the design process starting from the early conceptual...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Lightweight structures are conventionally associated to membrane and pneumatic constructions. Aiming at rethinking this paradigm, a research collaboration between the EmTech Programme (AA School, London) and the DARCH Chair of Structural Design (ETH Zurich) has been recently activated to explore the potentials of the use of plywood in lightweight s...
Article
Full-text available
The project BRIDGE+ exemplifies how digital computational tools can be actively used for the design of a system of inhabitable footbridges in the Norwegian cities of Skien and Porsgrunn. Thanks to its flexibility, evolutionary computation has been chosen as the main tool for the design process. Indeed, the use of evolutionary computation allowed fo...
Article
In this paper the energy performance of a residential building in Paris, designed within the International Architectural Competition HABITER PARIS (as concerns the suburban quarter of Porte des Lilas) are analyzed. According to EN 12831 and EN 832 the building winter energy demand has been evaluated to prove the low-energy-consumption behaviour of...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
The project seeks to explore how machine learning techniques can support designers in the exploration of multi-dimensional solution spaces. In particular, the research focuses on load-bearing and sun-shading facade systems, both 2D and 3D.
Project
Exploring non-regular spatial structures might prove a difficult design problem and designers usually lack adequate interactive tools. Graphic statics has demonstrated its relevance to support the design of two-dimensional structures in an interactive and informed way. One of its main benefits is the possibility to represent the form and the inner forces in two interdependent diagrams. In this context, extending graphic statics to the third dimension would allow new possibilities for both structural design and analysis in three dimensions. There are different ways to embark on this topic. The one chosen here uses vectors in both diagrams. At the cost of losing pure mathematical reciprocal rules between the two diagrams, this approach seems to increase the level of accuracy in quantitative perceptual tasks. This aspect is directly related to the legibility of the diagrams, which plays a key role in interactive graphic statics.
Project
Develop computational tools based on equilibrium models for the conceptual design of structures.