Multidisciplinary Design Optimization in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction: A Detailed Review and Call for Collaboration: Article No. 239

Naveen Kumar Muthumanickam, Nathan Brown, Jose Duarte, Timothy Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The design of buildings has become a complex and multidisciplinary problem involving multiple conflicting objectives as architects and designers address competing technical, economic, environmental, and societal concerns. This has been driving research in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) toward rigorous multidisciplinary decision-making frameworks that generate and evaluate numerous design alternatives using multi-objective optimization in concert with simulation and analysis models of varying fidelity and computational expense. While such frameworks are well known and widely employed in the aerospace and systems engineering domains, efforts by design professionals and researchers in the AEC field are scattered at best. In this paper, we provide a detailed review of recent developments in optimization frameworks in the AEC field and subsequently highlight how such developments are largely compartmentalized into separate domains such as structural, energy, daylighting, and other performance factors. We further discuss the technical challenges involved in concurrent coupled multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) in the AEC field such as interoperability issues between Building Information Modeling (BIM) environments, analysis/simulation tools, and optimization frameworks. We conclude by outlining research needed for more unified modeling and simulation-based optimization frameworks to aid in complex and multidisciplinary building design processes. We also highlight the need for the identification and development of multi-fidelity simulation tools for use across multiple design phases. As such, this paper contributes a novel roadmap to leverage aerospace and systems engineering research in MDO into the field of AEC, along with a call for researchers in the MDO community to seek collaborations in AEC field.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages40
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-88326


  • model and simulation-based engineering
  • multi-fidelity modeling
  • multi-objective optimization
  • problem structuring methods
  • tradespace exploration


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