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Integrated structural design

année académique

Titulaire(s) du cours

Thierry MASSART (Coordonnateur) et Matthieu MALLIE

Crédits ECTS


Langue(s) d'enseignement


Contenu du cours

The course consists in an integration of a design methodology with modelling tools. The students are taught to design a structure (typically a footbridge) from scratch, for given a context and set of constraints related to the construction process (urban aspects, transitory building phases, bill of quantities, …). Modelling aspects related to specific structural components (shells) are introduced to allow a full integration between the design process and the underlying modelling tools.

Objectifs (et/ou acquis d'apprentissages spécifiques)

Approach a design process from its early stage based on a given context and set of constraints

Apply computational methods for structural mechanics problems in a design context

Translate a structural mechanics problem into a computational model by formulating adapted hypotheses.

Select a computational approach relevant to the problem at hand

Use a commercially available finite element package to solve structural mechanics problems


Connaissances et compétences pré-requises

Knowledge on computational methods (finite elements)
Knowledge on structural mechanics and strength of materials topics
Courses on the design of steel and concrete structures

Méthodes d'enseignement et activités d'apprentissages

The course starts with a few lectures on structural design of complex structures (typically case studies of bridge and footbridge design) and the theoretical bases for computational modelling of such structures (shells, …).

The practical part, that represents 70% of the allocated hours consists of a project in which groups of students are asked to design a structure ‘from scratch’ for a given context and set of constraints. The work consists of designing the structure, with the help of modelling tools, and to provide a structural model supporting their decisions and choices.

Références, bibliographie et lectures recommandées

This teaching unit contributes to the following competences:

  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of integrated structural design methods in the framework of a global design strategy
  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of the advanced methods and theories to schematize and model complex problems or processes
  • Reformulate complex engineering problems in order to solve them (simplifying assumptions, reducing complexity)
  • Correctly report on research or design results in the form of a technical report or in the form of a scientific paper
  • Present and defend results in a scientifically sound way, using contemporary communication tools, for a national as well as for an international professional or lay audience
  • Think critically about and evaluate projects, systems and processes, particularly when based on incomplete, contradictory and/or redundant information
  • A critical attitude towards one’s own results and those of others
  • The flexibility and adaptability to work in an international and/or intercultural context
  • Integrate advanced modelling tools for the design of complex structures in civil engineering

Autres renseignements


Thierry J. Massart – Thierry.J.Massart@ulb.be

BATir CP 194/2


Matthieu Mallié – matthieu.mallie@ney.partners

Ney and Partners, 181 Chaussée de la Hulpe 1170 Bruxelles

+32 2 680 2180




Méthode(s) d'évaluation

  • Présentation orale
  • Rapport écrit

The evaluation is based on two elements: (1) a report detailing the project results obtained by groups of students, (2) an oral defense of the project.

Construction de la note (en ce compris, la pondération des notes partielles)

The marks are allocated for 50% based on the report, and for 50% based on the defense itself. Reports are provided by groups of students, but the marks themselves are individual.

The assessment is based on the report defense, including the ability to justify the design and modelling choices based on the information provided in the course sessions. The oral defense is also used to assess that a proper sharing of the workload was organized between students of a group.

Langue(s) d'évaluation

  • anglais