The practical optimisation of complex architectural forms

Zhenzhou Weng, Alfonso P. Ramallo Gonzalez, David A. Coley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)
204 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-322
Number of pages16
JournalBuilding SImulation: An international Journal
Issue number3
Early online date27 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2015


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


Dive into the research topics of 'The practical optimisation of complex architectural forms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this