The new 51 700 seat Aviva Stadium build at Lansdowne Road and completed in early 2010 provides a world class sporting facility for the city of Dublin, Ireland. Due to the nature of the site and its surroundings a responsive architectural form was required which could be manipulated to optimise the design for a wide variety of design variables and constraints by accommodating these design changes quickly and easily. This naturally led project architects, Populous, to adopt a parametric approach to generate the form of the building envelope, whereby CAD models were defined using rules and relationships between objects rather than absolute coordinates in space. This architectural parametric model was then passed directly to the structural engineers, Buro Happold, which extended it to include the geometry of the structural members. This paper adds to the body of scientific knowledge by documenting the details of the parametric model created by the author for the structural engineers, including not only the generation of geometry, which incorporates design constraints and embraces structural engineering logic, but is also linked to structural analysis software to provide rapid feedback on the effects of design decisions on structural performance. Furthermore, since this is the first example of a project being designed and built using a single parametric model from architectural design right through to structural analysis, the advantages and challenges of adopting such an approach are discussed. Suggestions are made, based on the lessons learned, to assist those using parametric methods on live projects in the future.
Paul Shepherd, MA, PhD, CSci, CMath, FIMA
University of Bath