Topological Shell Design

For Modular Approximation of Optimal Catenary Shells

Background and aim:

Masonry/Earthy structures can be made with sustainable materials while offering strong structural properties, especially if designed as compression-only structures. Optimal masonry structures might take complex geometric shapes that present constructability challenges. We aim to develop combinatorial methods for approximating optimal shells with modular blocks.

Research question:

  • How to approximate optimal shell structures as an assembly of modular blocks for easy construction?

Design objective:

  • To design and prototype a combinatorial process for modular polyhedral shape approximation.


  • Geometric Design and Tessellation
  • Computational Geometry (optionally in Python)
  • Structural Design and Mechanics
  • Material Science