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Advanced Digital Tools for Architectural Design and Structural Optimisation

Delve deep into the world of multi-criteria and complex design problem-solving and explore the parametric approaches that drive environmentally and structurally sound architectural solutions. The course will be hands-on, using a design exercise for an architectural canopy to explore the methods and systems that drive multi-criteria design approaches.

About this course

This course will teach you how to approach complex design problems using multi-objective optimisation methods. Using advanced digital tools within the Rhino 3D software platform, (structural analysis software Karamba 3D, parametric software Grasshopper 3D, and generative and evolutionary software Wallacei), you will develop skills in addressing the fine grain of environmental issues and the structural and material opportunities for complex architectural forms.

Course outline

Working in groups with other course participants, you’ll design a canopy-like structure using the highly detailed and parametric approach of Grasshopper 3D (a plugin for Rhino 3D). This canopy will be the case study through which you will examine different structural, architectural and environmental design objectives, creating a framework for learning and applying a multi-objective evolutionary algorithm in the design process.

Next, you’ll learn how to analyse the structural qualities of your design through the use of Karamba 3D and conduct solar analysis on your design using native Grasshopper components. You’ll gain hands-on experience applying these analytic methods for optimisation using the evolutionary engine, Wallacei.

Once you’ve completed your design, you’ll prepare your files for the fabrication process. Please note that the course does not cover the fabrication process itself. You will present your design process and outcomes to the class, allowing for critical feedback that will further develop the skills and knowledge you've gained throughout the course.

Course learning objectives

By the end of this course, you’ll understand:  

  • Multi-criteria design thinking
  • Parametric and generative design
  • Structural analysis using Karamba 3D
  • Solar analysis in Grasshopper 3D
  • 3D modelling
  • 3D visualisation and animations in Grasshopper 3D.

Key benefits of this microcredential

Successfully completing the course will equip participants with knowledge and expertise in innovative and emerging digital tools. Participants will gain relevant skills in the application of these tools within the design field allowing for their use in various parts of industry-based projects.

This microcredential aligns with the 3-credit point subject, Advanced Digital Tools for Architectural Design and Structural Optimisation (80111) in the Master of Technology. This microcredential may qualify for recognition of prior learning at this and other institutions.

Who is this course for?

The course is for built environment professionals and academics who want to:

  • Advance their knowledge of computational methods and systems for architectural and structural design
  • Learn innovative computational algorithmic principles that can be used to tackle multi-criteria architectural and structural design problems.

Teaching and learning strategies

Face to Face learning through the use of digital tools.

Assessment criteria

Assessment will be Pass/Fail.

Minimum requirements

To pass the course, participants must have full attendance and complete all submission requirements as per the assessment criteria stated in the course outline.

Mandatory requirement

  • Participants must have previous knowledge and prior use of 3D modelling software, preferably Rhino 3D. 
  • Basic knowledge and prior use of either Python programming or Grasshopper 3D.


Morning and afternoon tea provided.

Fees and Discount

Full price: $2,500 (GST free)

Special price: $1,500 (GST free)

To help you build future-focused skills during COVID-19, this course is currently offered at a reduced rate of $1,500 (Full price $2,500).

Please note that discounts cannot be combined. A limit of one discount applies per person per course session.



20 March




2.5 days



Meet the Experts

Dr Mohammed Makki

Dr Mohammed Makki
Senior Lecturer

Senior lecturer at UTS, Dr Mohammed Makki holds a Master of Architecture from the Emergent Technologies and Design Program (Honours) at the Architectural Association, and a PhD from the Architectural Association under the supervision of Dr Michael Weinstock. His work is focused on advanced computational design methods and the application of biological and natural processes within the design process.

As part of his research, Mohammed is the co-founder of the plugin Wallacei, an evolutionary and analytic engine for Grasshopper 3D that allows users to run simulations and analyse the results within a single streamlined user interface. He is also co-founder of the design practice MSSM Associates, an interdisciplinary design firm located in Cyprus, Lebanon and Indonesia. In 2017/2018, MSSM Associates won the Golden A' Design Award and the 5 star International Property Award for a single residence in the Asia Pacific region for their ‘Twist and Shout’ house. Mohammed is also an authorised Rhino 3D trainer, providing courses on parametric and generative design since 2012. 

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Dave Pigram

Dave Pigram
Senior Lecturer

Dave Pigram is an international-award-winning designer, researcher and educator in the fields of computational architecture and advanced fabrication. He is director of the architecture and innovation practice supermanoeuvre.

Dave’s research and design work has been widely exhibited, including at the Venice [2012, 2014] and Beijing [2008, 2010] Architecture Biennales, Centre Pompidou, New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture, UN Habitat World Urban Forum, National Museum of Australia, Gallery of Australian Design, and in Aarhus, Lisbon, Paris, Florence, New York, Los Angeles, Lexington, Melbourne and Auckland. His work is in the permanent collection of the FRAC Centre in Orléans, France following its inclusion in the landmark show ‘ArchiLab: Naturalising Architecture’.

Dave has worked for Studio Daniel Libeskind and taught at renowned institutions globally, including Columbia University and the Pratt Institute, New York; the Architectural Association, London; Princeton University; the University of Michigan and Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark.

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Additional information

NSW Health advice

UTS is undertaking a number of social distancing initiatives, informed by NSW Health advice, to help reduce social interactions in support of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. As it stands, the date of the microcredential is yet to be impacted by these initiatives and so the course will move forward unaffected. In the instance that the course cannot move forward as planned and will require to be postponed, participants can choose to remain enrolled and attend during the course’s revised date or request a full refund. Should there be any updates to the above, we will contact all participants with the revised information. If you have any questions in the interim, please do not hesitate to email Dr Mohammed Makki:

Book a session

Sat 20 Mar 2021 -
Sat 27 Mar 2021
Expert: Dr Mohammed Makki, Dave Pigram
  • UTS Campus - CB06..TBC
  • On-campus
  • 3 sessions, 20 hours total
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