The Bartlett School of Architecture


Bartlett Lecturer Awarded Innovation Project Funding

4 March 2022

Dr Kostas Grigoriadis has been awarded £10,000 of funding for a new project through this year’s round of the Bartlett Innovation Fund.

Image: Topologically optimised 3D printed, and CNC milled metal façade brackets.

Dr Kostas Grigoriadis’s project, “Multi-Metal Topology Optimisation of Building Components”, will focus on reducing material mass and embodied carbon in building components, through topology optimisation and the use of various metals. The project will run from March until September. Kostas will partner with Marina Konstantatou from the Specialist Modelling Group at Foster and Partners, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Herrmann and Stathis Damtsas from the Digital Structural Design Department at TH Lübeck in Germany, and Bartlett AD graduate Alejandro Nieto Jimenez from Spanish company Meltio, which specialises in metal 3D printing systems.

The Bartlett Innovation Fund provides funding for activities that generate, or support enterprise collaborations, impact-related activities, and innovation learning initiatives. Up to four projects are funded in each annual round, with up to £40,000 available for allocation to proposals led by Bartlett academic or teaching staff, including Research Associates and Teaching Fellows, across The Bartlett Faculty. In particular, applicants are encouraged to reflect and build on The Bartlett’s Commitment to Change, with its focus on values including sustainability, equality and public good.

Project outline

The metal components that connect the different parts of a building’s structure and cladding are standard sized, materially homogeneous elements. Building loads, deflections, and thermal expansion rates, however, are heterogeneous. Using material uniformly in effect is inefficient and increases embodied energy and componentry manufacturing, transportation, and installation costs. The origins of this redundant material use go back to times when mass fabrication was the norm, environmental issues were not a main consideration, and design and fabrication techniques were different from today’s practices.
The project will investigate the use of topology optimisation as a way to reduce the mass of metal building components and effectively their cost and embodied carbon. In addition, the aim is to go beyond single material optimisation and research into multi-metal optimisation and fabrication, as a way to improve mechanical properties, and the corrosion resistance of a component’s outer layers, and to combine these improvements with design and aesthetic considerations.

Kostas is a lecturer in Architecture at The Bartlett and is currently the Co-Programme Director in the Architecture MArch (ARB/RIBA Part 2) programme and Design Tutor in Research Cluster 8 in the AD programme. His research area is multi-material design and the implications of functionally graded material use in architecture and construction.

More information

Image: Topologically optimised 3D printed, and CNC milled metal façade brackets. Research project by Dr Kostas Grigoriadis and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Herrmann, funded by UCL’s Global Innovation Fund.