PROJECT OPTARCH - Optimization Driven Architectural Design of Structures
The project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 689983 


Development of cheaper, more efficient, safer and environmentally friendly structures

Collaboration and exchange of knowledge between the partners

Use of topology optimization techniques in computer-aided architectural design

definition and test of mathematical techniques in the different phases of the design of civil structures




The principal aim of OptArch project is to create and test methodologies for the application of optimization techniques in different design phases of civil structures by developing strong synergies among a multi- disciplinary team of academic experts from Greece, France, Cyprus, Canada, Turkey, Egypt & Jordan and SMEs from France, Greece and Italy.

The tasks of OptArch integrate and extend previous research of Consortium in the fields of structural optimization, numerical analysis, novel structural  engineering approaches, soft computing and computer technology.

Such a multidisciplinary approach is deemed necessary to tackle the challenges associated with achieving project objective.

The OptArch project focuses on:

  • collaboration and exchange of knowledge between partners;

  • specialization of expertise regarding SMEs participating;

  • development of cheaper, more efficient, safer and environmentally friendly structures;

  • create and test of methodologies for applying optimization in different design phases of structures;

  • exploiting topology optimization techniques in computer aided architectural design;

  • exchange ideas and propose formulations to real life applications;

  • develop solutions for optimized multidisciplinary architectural designs;

  • combine criteria deriving from structural mechanics, eco design, bioclimatic design and acoustic performance.


OptArch aims at proposing a radically different approach, where the optimization problem is formulated under the strong synergy of people from different disciplines and solved using automated methods. Thus, the proposed research and innovation project is multidisciplinary by nature.

The "state of art" methodology to tackle optimization problems in architecture remains the traditional trial-and-error approach, which often requires significant human effort and resources, while in all probability results in sub-optimal choices.

Architects usually name "optimal design" the choice among a very limited set of design alternatives, dictated by their experience and intuition. However, modern design of structures requires one to account for a great number of criteria deriving from multiple disciplines, often of conflicting nature.

The different aspects of the new design process aimed by OptArch will be integrated into automated platforms, for the design of which, architects, applied mathematicians, software developers and engineers from various fields (Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Material Engineering, etc.) will join their efforts and expertise.

The vast number of alternative choices enhances the possibility of arriving at an optimum with the incorporation of smart, automatic tools in the design process, further guiding designer’s intuition.

SCIENTIFIC publications, papers and awards

Charles Dapogny, Alexis Faure, Georgios Michailidis, Grégoire Allaire, Agnes Couvelas, Rafael Estevez, "Geometric constraints for shape and topology optimization in architectural design" - Computational Mechanics, 59, no. 6, 933-965 (2017).

February 12, 2017

This work proposes a shape and topology optimization framework oriented towards conceptual architectural design. A particular emphasis is put on the possibility for the user to interfere on the optimization process by supplying information about his personal taste. More precisely, we formulate three novel constraints on the geometry of shapes; while the first two are mainly related to aesthetics, the third one may also be used to handle several fabrication issues that are of special interest in the device of civil structures. The common mathematical ingredient to all three models is the signed distance function to a domain, and its sensitivity analysis with respect to perturbations of this domain; in the present work, this material is extended to the case where the ambient space is equipped with an anisotropic metric tensor. Numerical examples are discussed in two and three space dimensions.

Yar M, Korkmaz K, Kiper G, Maden F, Akgün Y, Aktaş E - "A novel planar scissor structure transforming between concave and convex configurations " - Int J Comput Methods Exp Meas, 5(4):442-450 (2017)

June 30, 2017

In this paper, a novel two-dimensional scissor structure that transforms between concave and convex configurations is presented. The structure is designed by a method of assembling kite or anti-kite loops in the flat configuration. Angulated units are generated from the assembled loops. Finally, a new angulated scissor unit is introduced in order to design the novel scissor structure. Keywords: angulated units, anti-kite loops, kite loops, scissor structure

N.Ath. Kallioras, N.D. Lagaros, D.N. Avtzis - "Pity Beetle Algorithm - A new metaheuristic inspired by the behaviour of bark beetles" - Advances in Engineering Software - 2017

April 30, 2017

In the past years a great variety of nature-inspired algorithms have proven their ability to efficiently handle combinatorial optimization problems ranging from design and form finding problems to mainstream economic theory and medical diagnosis. In this study, a new metaheuristic algorithm called Pity Beetle Algorithm (PBA) is presented and its efficiency against state-of-the-art algorithms is assessed. The proposed algorithm was inspired by the aggregation behavior, searching for nest and food, of the beetle named Pityogenes chalcographus, also known as six-toothed spruce bark beetle. This beetle has the ability to locate and harvest on the bark of weakened trees into a forest, while when its population exceeds a specific threshold it can infest healthy and robust trees as well. As it was proved in this study, PBA can be applied to NP-hard optimization problems regardless of the scale, since PBA has the ability to search for possible solutions into large spaces and to find the global optimum solution overcoming local optima. In this work, PBA was applied to well-known benchmark uni-modal and multi-modal, separable and non-separable unconstrained test functions while it was also compared to other well established metaheuristic algorithms implementing also the CEC 2014 benchmark and complexity evaluation tests.

Stavros Chatzieleftheriou, Nikos D. Lagaros - "Smoothed reduction of fracture mechanics solutions to 1D cracked models" - European Journal of Mechanics / A Solids, 2017.

May 01, 2017

In the framework of fracture mechanics 2 or 3 dimensional modelling approaches are mostly employed in order to simulate cracks. However, in many applications 1D models that represent cracked structural members can be proved to be very useful. A crack contributes to abrupt stiffness reduction, causing “jump” in the displacement field close to the crack, in the present work the observation that the presence of cracks causes also stress and strain redistribution at some distance from the crack tips as resulted from fracture mechanics solutions is underlined. An appropriate “smoothed” stiffness reduction is introduced as a function from the distance from the crack consistent energetically with the Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics (LEFM) solutions. These smoothed 1D solutions capture the strain variations in some distance from the crack(s) achieving very good accuracy. Some modelling examples in static and dynamic (eigenfrequencies, mode shapes) cases are examined and compared to existing 1D models, 3D FEM simulation and experimental data.

J. Desai, A. Faure, G. Michailidis, G. Parry, R. Estevez -"Topology optimization in acoustics and elasto-acoustics via a level-set method" - Journal of Sound and Vibration, 2017

April 02, 2017

Optimizing the shape and topology (S&T) of structures to improve their acoustic performance is quite challenging. The exact position of the structural boundary is usually of critical importance, which dictates the use of geometric methods for topology optimization instead of standard density approaches. The goal of the present work is to investigate different possibilities for handling topology optimization problems in acoustics and elasto-acoustics via a level-set method. From a theoretical point of view, we detail two equivalent ways to perform the derivation of surface-dependent terms and propose a smoothing technique for treating problems of boundary conditions optimization. In the numerical part, we examine the importance of the surface-dependent term in the shape derivative, neglected in previous studies found in the literature, on the optimal designs. Moreover, we test different mesh adaptation choices, as well as technical details related to the implicit surface definition in the level-set approach. We present results in two and three-space dimensions.

Phocas, M.C., Pamboris, G. - "Multi-Storey Structures with Seismic Isolation at Storey-Levels" - Computational Methods in Earthquake Engineering – Vol. 3, Springer, pp. 261-284, 2017, Papadrakakis, M., Plevris, V., Lagaros, N., (eds.)

May 15, 2017

Through increasing international research and application activities in the last years, seismic isolation has proven to be an innovative passive control technique in the area of performance-based design of buildings. Seismic isolation is principally based on the incorporation of flexible isolators at the base of low-rise buildings in order to shift the fundamental period outside of the dangerous for resonance, range of periods. In extending the concept of base isolation, the present contribution refers to the control of multi-storey structures under earthquake actions by means of introducing seismic isolation at different elevations of the structure. Thus, the structural response is influenced decisively by the vertically distributed seismic isolation, which at the respective storey-levels is alone capable of controlling the partial and overall stiffness, the force transmission and the energy dissipation process of the respective dynamic adaptable system. During strong earthquakes the effectiveness of the system in further enlarging the period of the building, compared to the classical method of seismic isolation at a unique level, is achieved, most often with decreased inter-storey deflections, and without introducing extensive displacements at the building base, which are often limited by practical constraints. The effectiveness of the proposed control system is investigated in parametric studies, in the time-history range, for a 6-storey building under ten selected earthquakes of the Greek-Mediterranean region, scaled to a maximum ground acceleration of 0.25 g. Most effective vertical distribution of seismic isolation at various storey-levels is proposed, based on the earthquake, structural and isolation characteristics used in the numerical study.

Nikos Ath. Kallioras and Nikos D. Lagaros - "A Real-Time Emergency Inspection Scheduling Tool Following a Seismic Event" - M. Papadrakakis, V. Plevris, N.D. Lagaros, (Eds.)Computational Methods in Earthquake Engineering Vol. 3, M. Papadrakakis, V. Plevris, N.D. Lagaros, (Eds.), Springer, pages 405-418, 2016

April 30, 2016

Emergency infrastructure inspections are of the essence after a seismic event as a carefully planned inspection in the first and most critical hours can reduce the effects of such an event. Metaheuristics and more specifically nature inspired algorithms have been used in many hard combinatorial engineering problems with significant success. The success of such algorithms has attracted the interest of many researchers leading to an increased interest regarding metaheuristics. In the present literature many new and sophisticated algorithms have been proposed with interesting performance characteristics. On the other hand, up to date developments in the field of computer hardware have also had a significant influence on algorithm design. The increased computational abilities that are available to researchers through parallel programming have opened new horizons in architecture of algorithms. In this work, a methodology for real-time planning of emergency inspections of urban areas is presented. This methodology is based on two nature inspired algorithms, Harmony Search Algorithm (HS) and Ant Colony Optimization (ACO). HS is used for dividing the area into smaller blocks while ACO is used for defining optimal routes inside each created block. The proposed approach is evaluated in an actual city in Greece, Thessaloniki.

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stakeholders & Credits

Giuseppe Leonardo Cascella, PhD



MSc with honors and PhD in Electrical Eng. @Politecnico di Bari (IT)

EU Marie Curie Fellow @Nottingham University (UK)

40+ international papers

30+ industrial and R&D projects


National technical University of Athens

The National Technical University of Athens is the oldest and most prestigious institution in Greece in the field of technology training and has consistently contributed to the scientific, technical and economic development of the country since its foundation in 1836.


École polytechnique

École Polytechnique combines research, education and innovation at the highest scientific and technological level. It promotes a culture of excellence with a strong emphasis on science, combined with humanist traditions.


Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble

Grenoble INP is one of Europe’s leading technology universities. It is a French technological university system consisting of six engineering schools.


University of Cyprus

The main objectives of the University of Cyprus are two: the promotion of scholarship and education through teaching and research, and the enhancement of the cultural, social and economic development of Cyprus.


Ace Hellas

ACE-Hellas is a Greek company active in the marketing and production of solutions in the IT sector and in particular in the supply of high-tech computing solutions and services.



The fields of expertise of the research team of SHAPE are: Architectural and energy efficiency. 


 İzmir Institute of Technology 

İzmir Institute of Technology is a public research university in Turkey. İYTE maintains a strong emphasis on the natural sciences and engineering and is the only institute of its kind in Turkey with a special focus on scientific research. 


Yaşar University is a Turkish university. It also adheres to a policy of internationalization: a process of connecting a globalized world with the local community through a variety of social responsibility projects.



Eupraxia is a highly innovative software house, systems integrator and technology provider, established to provide leading edge intelligent technical solutions and consulting services to businesses, organizations and government.


Politecnico di Bari

The Polytechnic of Bari is a public university whose purpose is cultural, scientific and technological progress through the organization of scientific and technological research in the fields of Architecture and Engineering.




Smart buildings

Energy efficiency

Multidisciplinary design

Acoustic performance


Bioclimatic design

Smart cities