The widespread construction of large covered spaces representative of contemporary architecture, often the protagonists of the redevelopment of urban fragments, has in recent years brought about the need for increased studies and scientific research related to the design of large roofs of complex shape. Studies for gridshell systems fit into this context as they represent a good compromise between strength capacity, better material utilization and light weight. The optimization of the process requires a series of validations of the design process aimed at finding the “ideal form,” understood as a dimension that can combine the peculiarities of the architectural design with the requirements of a technological nature, through which to ensure adequate resistance to acting loads and constructive feasibility. Therefore, suitable tools are needed that are able to control the executive design of these spatial structures, thus postponing the drafting of them necessarily to new approaches that, through processes of improvement of the designed form and appropriate discretizations of the system, allow to rationalize, from a technical-constructive point of view, the design process. The answer to these problems is not so immediate, as it is necessary to activate a complex process of analysis based on solid mathematical foundations supported by qualified expertise in the field of technological innovation, construction techniques and related procedures for the realization of these complex works. The design of complex macrostructures implies a transformation of the traditional design process; which deals with a parametric approach, thus allowing, together with genetic algorithms and optimization processes, to iterate the design phases in order to achieve the final design goal. These issues, with the aim of assessing how the use of today’s available information technology tools can lead to a rationalization of the engineering stages in surface design, are addressed in this study through the elaboration of a large canopy as an element capable of reconfiguring and redeveloping a currently unstructured and unrepresentative urban space.
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