Leveraging Virtual Design & Construction for Multi-physics Modeling and Multidisciplinary Design and Optimization of Sustainable Built Environments

Project Team

M. Lepech, A. Kiremidjian, B. Shen, J.Wu


Advanced design and optimization techniques (MDO) enable owners of the built environment to examine many design and management alternatives and minimize the life cycle cost or environmental impact of their facilities.  However, these techniques are only as good as their ability to predict future performance, maintenance, or replacement.  Currently, many performance predictions rely on empirical heuristics or simple formulas. As such, the AEC community lags far behind other industries, such as aerospace or automotive, in the use of advanced computational performance prediction to design optimal systems.

This proposal builds upon a new multi-physics modeling suite that can fundamentally predict deterioration and performance of the built environment.  We propose to integrate this suite with Revit®, and demonstrate multidisciplinary design and optimization (MDO) of long-lasting reinforced concrete building elements.

Project Background

Research Motivation

A shift in the management and operation of built infrastructure (buildings, heavy civil infrastructure, etc.) is underway worldwide. This shift is expanding the scope of management responsibilities from industry silos to whole lifecycle responsibility. This shift is enabled, in part, by a number of trends, including (i) the decreasing cost and increasing capability of ubiquitous monitoring and sensing, (ii) the increasing ability to collect, store, and process large amounts of data, (iii) a set of improved computational modeling tools that enable high fidelity, predictive modeling of built infrastructure, (iv) the proliferation of online educational resources, (v) the use of broader measures of performance that directly relate to user value, and (vi) a growing acceptance of new forms of financing and governance that blur the boundaries between private and public investment.

Industry Example

We will use the integrated Revit®-multiphysics-MDO computational architecture to design, model, and optimize a precast concrete building façade system exposed to deterioration on the San Francisco bay waterfront.  

Research Objectives

Task 1 – Computational Linking of Revit® with Multi-Scale Multi-Physics COMSOL, Diana FEM and OpenSees Models 

Task 2 – Modeling of Precast Concrete Building Façade Panels Exposed to Temperature, Sun Exposure, Moisture, Chloride Exposure and Gravity Load

Task 3 – Multidisciplinary Design Optimization of Precast Concrete Building Façade Panels

Software Architecture

Software Demonstrations





Pannel Deterioration Analysis


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Design Space

Life Cycle Cost Optimization

Original Research Proposal

CIFE.2015.Lepech.Kiremidjian1.pdf1.38 MB
Architecture.jpg118.29 KB
CIFETest_Analysis_Part1.gif8.15 MB
CIFETest1_Analysis_Part2.gif3.06 MB
CIFETest1_Analysis_Part3.gif15.42 MB
CIFETest1_Showresult.gif15.14 MB
new_CIFETEST_PANEL1.gif1.97 MB
new_CIFETEST_PANEL2.gif366.93 KB
Design Space.jpg45.55 KB
LCC.gif11.43 KB

Last modified Thu, 24 Mar, 2016 at 19:30