1Ph.D. candidate in architecture, Iran University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment,

2Associate Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, Digital Building Laboratory,


This paper reports a research project which aimed to automate virtual generation of masonry vaults being applicable for structural analysis, and construction planning of these structures. The project has identified and implemented parametric rules for generating detailed structural assemblies of masonry units and communicating to finite element analysis through a neutral data-structure. Generative functions extracted from design and construction knowledge, along with post-generation checking functions enable architects to generate, evaluate, and manipulate the virtual model of vaults. This generative stage is developed by the Autodesk DesignScript programming language. The data-structure also represents generated geometric and non-geometric attributes of vault’s masonry units for constructability analysis. For developing this data structure Excel spreadsheets has been applied. The data structure also is used to develop the finite-element structural analysis during and after construction. This approach is demonstrated on 3 types of freehanded Persian brick vaults: Chaahaar-Dowri”, “Barrel”, and “Domical” Vaults.


Keywords: free handed masonry vaults, parametric modelling, masonry unit assemblies, constructability analysis, structural analysis