Applications of Michell’s Theory in Design of High-Rise Buildings, Large-Scale Roofs and Long-Span Bridges

  • Cezary Graczykowski Institute of Fundamental Technological Research, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Tomasz Lewiński Warsaw University of Technology


This paper analyzes the relations between the theory of Michell structures, which is one of the most important theories in structural optimization, and some remarkable engineering structures, including selected high-rise buildings, large-scale roof coverings and long-span bridges. The first part of this study briefly presents the development of Michell’s theory, its basic concepts, assumptions, and examples and fundamental features of Michell structures. Then, several untypical engineering structures that make use of said concepts are presented, including skyscrapers proposed by the Polish structural designer W. Zalewski and the international architectural office of Skidmore, Owings and Merill (SOM). Next, large-scale roof coverings of “Spodek” arena in Poland as well as selected bridges are thoroughly analyzed in the context of similarity to Michell structures. The conducted study reveals that considered structural forms of the analyzed structures follow some of the concepts known from Michell’s theory and thus possess many features of the optimal structural designs.


topology optimization, Michell structures, high-rise buildings, large-scale roofs, long-span bridges,


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Sep 17, 2020
How to Cite
GRACZYKOWSKI, Cezary; LEWIŃSKI, Tomasz. Applications of Michell’s Theory in Design of High-Rise Buildings, Large-Scale Roofs and Long-Span Bridges. Computer Assisted Methods in Engineering and Science, [S.l.], v. 27, n. 2–3, p. 133–154, sep. 2020. ISSN 2299-3649. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 23 june 2021. doi:
Engineering Optimization

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