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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
BOM170 - Structural design
Gestaltning och konstruktiv utformning
Syllabus adopted 2019-02-15 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPSEB
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Architecture and Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Almost full course, please contact
Teaching language: English
Application code: 22122
Open for exchange students: Yes
Block schedule: A
Maximum participants: 52

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0112 Project 7,5c Grading: TH   7,5c    

In programs



Mario Plos

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General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

Good understanding of conceptual design of structural systems, for instance through the course Structural systems: design and assessment (VBB122), and of design and response of structural systems and structural members of timber, steel and concrete, for instance through the courses Structures (BMT015), Structural engineering (BMT020), Timber engineering (VSM196), Structural concrete (VBB072) and the parallel course Steel structures (VSM191). One or two courses in structural engineering at advanced level may be replaced by courses in architectural engineering at advanced level.


The course is an advanced project-based course concerning development of concepts of structures, which are demanding with regard to expression, urban context and complex technical solutions. It provides a context where students have to synthesise previous knowledge within conceptual and structural engineering in an iterative design process. The main aim is to promote students¿ ability to work across disciplinary boundaries and to integrate knowledge from different areas in order to develop suitable, efficient and innovative structures of different structural materials, where the optimised technical solution is part of the architectural expression. The course should promote development of a broad inter-disciplinary understanding. The actual project may vary from year to year but is always related to a real case and carried out in cooperation with external parties.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

After completion of the course the student should be able to
  • perform conceptual design of new types of advanced and complex structures in international project teams of mixed competences
  • describe, explain and evaluate the conditions and context for design and express a design intention,
  • create innovative structural concepts where the expression, efficient flow of forces and smart technical solutions are integrated,
  • develop structural concepts in an iterative process considering demands related to various disciplines,
  • evaluate and critically review proposed concepts with regard to, among others, risks and uncertainties, construction, service life considerations, and sustainability,
  • present a recommended design concept and explain its performance, how it is influenced by various demands and how it interacts in its context.
  • read and sketch the force paths and describe the mechanical behaviour of various types of advanced and complex structures of various materials and material combinations,
  • describe and evaluate properties of alternative structural materials in structural solutions.


The course treats architectural and structural design of advanced and complex structures of various materials and material combinations with regard to their expression, load paths and mechanical behaviour, construction and performance during operation. It is of major concern to handle complexity related to the structural configuration, to the urban and environmental context and to the interaction between architectural and structural design. Furthermore, the course includes methodology in conceptual design, especially with regard to interaction between disciplines in the early phase of design projects.


The course is divided in four sequent phases. In the first phase the students by means of introductory lectures and study visits develop their knowledge to relate structures to their urban and environmental context, to describe technical solutions of advanced and complex structures, and to read and explain their load paths.

A major project concerning conceptual design of an advanced and complex structure starts, where students work together in international teams of mixed competences. In the second phase the project teams study the building site with its context and specific conditions and explore design possibilities by generating many alternative improvised concepts. In the third phase the context and various stakeholders¿ needs and demands are further analysed. The improvised concepts are critically evaluated, further developed, modified and rejected in an iterative procedure until possible concepts remain as promising solutions. The design process is supported by lectures, supervised workshops, critical reviews and interaction between design teams. In the last phase the possible concepts are further analysed, modified and worked out to a complete structural concept, which is documented and prepared for professional presentation with designed argumentation. The proposed and recommended structural concept is presented at a final seminar.


Allen, E., Zelewski, W., Boston Structures Group: Form and forces, Designing efficient, expressive structures. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New Jersey, 2010.
Schlaich, Bergermann and Partner, Detail Engineering 1. Institut für internationale Architektur-Dokumentation GmbH & Co. KG, München, 2011.

Examination including compulsory elements

Each student will get an individual grade based
on the individual examination and the result of the project work and
his/her participation and activity. The individual written examination concerning basic theory takes place during the course. Active participation in project work is required. It is compulsory to take part in the seminars, where all students are supposed to contribute to the discussion. Furthermore, the study tours are compulsory.

The project is evaluated on the basis of oral and written presentations, models and slide shows prepared by each group of students. The following aspects will be evaluated:
  • Quality of design proposals with regard to completeness and clarity
  • Ability to express, explain and analyse force patterns and structural behaviour
  • Quality of design process with regard to context and demands
  • Ability to develop the design by an iterative design process
  • Ability to critically review design proposals and identify risks, uncertainties and crucial issues in design
  • Quality of oral and written presentations

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.