Cast Bodies


  • Dingwen (Nic) Bao
  • Instructed by Professor Yimin (Mike) Xie & Roland Snooks
  • Snooks Research Lab | Architectural Robotics Lab, School of Architecture and Urban Design
  • Centre for Innovative Structures & Materials, School of Engineering
  • RMIT University


Cast Bodies explores the digital design and robotic fabrication of intricate lattice structures through the application of 3D printed formwork strategies. The lattice structures are designed through the interaction generative multi-agent algorithms and BESO structural topology optimisation as well as fabricated by robotic large-scale 3D printing. These prototypes presented are 3D printed polymer materials to respectively act as sacrificial permanent/flexible temporary formworks for concrete casting.

Key Features


The design uses a robotic 3D printed material to act as sacrificial permanent/flexible temporary formworks for fibre-reinforced cast concrete. The various printing constraints and opportunities are encoded with a generative design process to create a family of similar forms, each exhibiting unique characteristics created by the bias of their fabrication approaches. It demonstrates the process of integrating two algorithms which will establish a real-time feedback loop in the process of designing a complex form. This process is developed to create complex geometry that embeds the necessary constraints of a 3D printing fabrication process.


The architectural components presented is for facade design. The prototypes are used to test the new approach for a large-scale spatial structure. It describes a hybrid of architectural and structural behaviours through integrating topological optimisation and multi-agent algorithms and the closeness of their interaction. Conceptually this strategy develops a relationship between structural-based form-finding methods and swarm systems, respectively for evaluation in algorithmic design and robotic fabrication. These prototypes, while small in scale, attempt to explore the architectonic implications of the interaction of emerging computational design and robotic fabrication processes, and speculate on their future application to architecture.


These two prototypes represent the innovative design & fabrication technique method. There is the potential to seeks the ornamental complexities in architectural forms and most efficient use of material based on structural performance in the process of generating complex geometry of the building and its various elements, later for the market of mass customisation manufacturing in AEC industry. It is the original design. This collaboration between RMIT CISM, RMIT Architecture and Robotic Lab builds on prior research in structural optimisation and robotic fabrication that has been exhibited and published internationally. It builds on and contributes to the reputation and status of Victoria\’s design and creative culture.


The lattice structures are designed through the interaction of generative multi-agent algorithms, which are conditioned by fabrication constraints, and BESO structural topology optimisation. The focus of the design is the methodology that establishes a complementary relationship between topological optimisation, behavioural algorithms, robotic 3D printing and materiality. This methodology is tested through the generative design and additive manufacture of architectural component prototypes to be exhibited. The methodological innovation is the integration of topological optimisation method with multi-agent generative design algorithms. This approach attempts to negotiate between concerns of architectural design and structural engineering.


This design makes a contribution to the development and discourse surrounding architectural implications of intricate lattice structures design & fabrication. Designing & fabricating intricate lattice structures demonstrate the process of integrating two algorithms which will establish a real-time feedback loop in the process of designing complex forms. The design represents an important step in the innovative process of design & fabrication.

Read all features / benefits

Youtube / Vimeo

online casino