Structural robustness refers to the ability of a structure to avoid disproportionate consequences to the original cause. Currently attentions focus on the concepts of structural robustness, and discussions on methods of robustness based structural design are rare. Firstly, taking basis in robust H oo control theory, structural robustness is assessed by H oo norm of the system transfer function. Then using the SIMP material model, robustness based design of grid structures is formulated as a continuum topology optimization problem, where the relative density of each element and structural robustness are considered as the design variable and the optimization objective respectively. Generalized elitist genetic algorithm is used to solve the optimization problem. As examples, robustness configurations of plane stress model and the rectangular hyperbolic shell model were obtained by robustness based structural design. Finally, two models of single-layer grid structures were designed by conventional and robustness based method respectively. Different interference scenarios were simulated by static and impact experiments, and robustness of the models were analyzed and compared. The results show that the H oo structural robustness index can indicate whether the structural response is proportional to the original cause. Robustness based structural design improves structural robustness effectively, and it can provide a conceptual design in the initial stage of structural design.