College - Author 1

College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Department - Author 1

Architectural Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Architectural Engineering

College - Author 2

College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Department - Author 2

Architectural Engineering Department

Degree - Author 2

BS in Architectural Engineering



Primary Advisor

Edmond Saliklis, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Architectural Engineering Department


The following presents an approach to early applications of the Galapagos program as a means to optimize structural forms. The process was conducted with Rhino’s Grasshopper program, the structural analysis plug-in, Karamba, and the genetic algorithm solver, Galapagos. This topological form finding process was based on flexible parameters that modified brace and column locations, and diaphragm size and positions.

This process worked by having Galapagos modify a parametric model which had initial randomly generated variables for the genomes. After structural analysis, Galapagos was tasked with changing the form in order to minimize overall displacement of the structure. Being an evolutionary solver, Galapagos creates a “population” of solutions and eliminates non-effective offspring to continue breeding effective offspring through multiple generations. This means that solutions found through Galapagos were best fit to the program, but were not necessarily an absolute perfect solution, as that could take hundreds of generations to find. This also means solutions vary based on the beginning placement of genomes before populations are created. However, after comparing Galapagos to what was intuited and what are known structural solutions, there is a strong case to be made that Grasshopper, Karamba, and Galapagos can be used effectively in engineering practice to create both beautiful and efficient structures.