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Disciplinary Sector: 
Construction Techniques
Single Annual Cycle
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

Aim of the course is to provide the
fundamentals for the design of structures. An overall overview of the design strategies for structural and non-structural components and their interaction will be provided.
In order to develop a proper skill concerning structural fundamentals, by the end of the course the student should be able:

- to know the fundamentals concerning structural materials mechanical behaviour, actions on structures and environment influences, conceptual design and dimensioning criteria for buildings (knowledge and understanding skill);
- to conceive architectural projects based on realistic structural configurations; to detect structural elements and to perform a proper dimensioning (applying knowledge and understanding)

- to govern the procedure adopted in the current design practice. A constant link between the teaching of theoretical fundamentals and the practical applications will be perceived during the course. This constant link will serve to guide the student to realise architectonic designs based on the background knowledge of material behaviour, conceptual design and dimensioning criteria (Making judgements)

- to show enhanced communication skill thanks to the confidence gained by the student through a constant connection between theoretical knowledge and applications to a real case study. Public speaking capabilities will be checked during the course to improve the use of the technical terminology currently used in the daily practice (Communication skills)

- to govern the fundamental steps of the design of structure. The reviews of the assigned project, realised by students during lessons, will provide the measure to quantify and to check the ability of student learning (Learning skills)


The preparatory exam of Structural Analysis or Structural Engineering is strongly recommended.

Course contents summary

The course treats the fundamentals for the design of structures. Conceptual design and dimensioning criteria will be described to provide the foundation for an overall understanding of the design of structures. In particular, the theoretical background and the code rules for the design of steel structures, will be explained.
Therefore, the mechanical behaviour, the most frequently static schemes assumed for buildings and the detailing rules for members and for connections will be described.
Referring to the different building configurations, usually adopted in practice, the corresponding structural typologies will be explained. For each structural typology the role played by structural and non-structural members will be shown.
Finally, the student should be able to evaluate the best protection of buildings against vertical and horizontal actions. To this aim static and dynamic actions, considered for the verification of structures, will be explained and the principles of limit state design will be provided according to partial factor method.

Course contents

- Principles of limit state design. Actions on structures. General criteria and code requirements for the design and the safety assessment of structures.

-Response of buildings subjected to imposed actions. The Basic Structural Systems: vertical Lateral Resistance Systems and horizontal Resistance System. Optimization of the Structural/Architectural configuration.
Structural systems for buildings: frame systems, wall systems, core systems and braced systems.
Regular and irregular configurations.

- Design of steel structures:
material properties,
structural response,
structural elements, secondary elements and non-structural elements and their interaction,
dimensioning rules,
detailing rules.

Recommended readings

- FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), “Designing for Earthquakes: A Manual for Architects”, FEMA 454, 2006, free download at the link:

- Levy, M., Salvadori, M., “Why buildings fall down: how structures fail”, W.W: Norton Eds., 2002.
- Torroja, E., “La concezione strutturale. Logica ed intuito nella ideazione delle forme”, CittàStudi Edizioni, 1995.
- Salvadori, M., Heller, R., “Le strutture in Architettura”, Etas Libri, 1992.
- C. Bernuzzi. Proporzionamento di strutture in acciaio. Ed. Hoepli
- C.G. Salomon and J.E. Johnson. Steel Structures. Ed. Harper & Row

The teaching material, notes, slides and additional documentation will be available via the portal “Elly DIA” (

Teaching methods

The course timetable alternates lessons (where the theoretical fundamentals are explained) and practice exercises (where the assigned structure is designed).
During practice exercises, the students should apply the theoretical contents of the course. The connection between the topics treated by the other teachers of the LP4 Architectural and Urban Design Studio for the Sustainable City + Workshop will be continuously monitored (please refer also to the sheet of LP4 Architectural and Urban Design Studio for the Sustainable City + Workshop).

Lessons will be organised as follows:
- Front lectures in attendance with the chance of following distance lessons in synchronous mode (via Teams) or the chance of following remote lessons in asynchronous mode (uploaded on Elly site)

All the adopted slides will be weekly uploaded to Elly platform. For the slide download the student needs to register to the online course. The slides must be considered part of the teaching material.

The teacher is available for further explanations by appointment via mail.

Assessment methods and criteria

More information about the adopted methodology to check the learning skill acquired by students can be found sheet of LP4 Architectural and Urban Design Studio for the Sustainable City + Workshop.
The examination of the course module of “Design of structures” consists in an oral discussion with the teacher.
The oral examinations will deal with:
- a technical conversation with the teacher, where the student should demonstrate to be able of affording a structural design problem;
- a critical discussion focused on the design presentation of the assigned structure.

The colloquium is evaluated between 0-30.
If the sanitary emergency will lead to organise exams on – line, the Teams platform will be used for the oral exam.

Other informations

The attendance to lessons and to exercises is requested for this course.