LERA Advances Engineering with Computational Design

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Luanda's High Tech Tower

Pioneering creative visions often require pioneering strategies to make them manifest in the world. In the field of architecture, the new High Tech Tower in Luanda, Angola, shows what’s possible when vision and technology unite.

The 90,000-square-meter high-rise is currently under construction and will include a 28-story hotel, a 35-story office and residential tower, and a 5-story podium for retail space and a convention center. A pool sits on a bridge connecting the towers, and a jogging track passes through both towers and cantilevers out on 2 sides. The striking design from the Carlos Zapata Studio was inspired by the welwitschia plant, native to Angola.

Idea to Edifice

LERA Consulting Structural Engineers led the structural design of the project, while LERA+, their in-house computational design and research group, played a pivotal role in the design and coordination process. Using Cuttlefish, their custom-developed interoperability platform, as well as custom Dynamo scripts, they were able to take the Rhino model provided by the architect and translate it into FEA software for analysis and into Revit for documentation.

“Automation is about improving processes,” says LERA+ Senior Computational Designer Nidhi Sekhar. “In the rapidly evolving and multidisciplinary AEC industry, that means harnessing an ever-expanding library of advanced technological tools to deliver a single product: a building, a public space, a sculpture.”

High Tech Tower
The High Tech Tower was designed using Revit, Dynamo, and FEA software. (© Carlos Zapata Studio)  

In order to make more efficient decisions on such a complex project, they also used IMMERSIFY, their custom-developed VR platform, to bring the model into virtual reality for design coordination between the architect, owner, and the full engineering design team. They could do this with a click of a button from within Revit. “With so many players involved, integration is key to streamlining design—never has it been so important to find a way for all of these tools to talk to each other,” says LERA+ Director Alfonso Oliva.

From analyzing the geometry of each floor discretely to determine the optimal connections between columns and slabs to performing multiple forms of SAP analysis of the final function of the building, the High Tech Tower shows how new technologies and approaches can help bold designs become reality more efficiently than ever before.

Want to learn more? Hear directly from LERA+'s Nidhi Sekhar who showcased the project to thousands during AU Las Vegas 2018.