A parametric model used in the design of a vast timber roof for a new railway station in the Netherlands enabled us to reduce the amount of material required by 10%, equivalent to €400,000.

The new public transport terminal at Ede-Wageningen is designed to handle more passengers and provide smooth connections with train, bus and bicycle transport. The architect had developed a complex and striking vision for the terminal and we were asked to check the feasibility and produce a structural design.

Automated calculations reduce materials required by 10%

A key feature of the design was a very large timber roof supported on steel columns. The weight of the roof, length of the timber spans, strict deflection requirements and connections to the columns presented challenges. In addition, the total timber needed for the roof alone was half of all the construction timber used in a year in the Netherlands. It meant there were risks associated with availability and cost.

Facing the need to reduce the required amount of timber, we created a parametric model and automated workflow to optimise the structure. As a result, our design reduced the requirements by 10%, which also resulted in significant savings on material costs.

“Automation enabled us to perform more calculations more quickly, making very small changes which together added up to a significant saving,” explained Pleun Mijnsbergen, structural engineer. “A similar outcome would not have been possible from traditional methods because of the large number of parameters and their correlations in the design.”