This dissertation aims at developing a machine learning workflow in solving design-related problems, taking a data-driven structural design method with topological data using graphic statics as an example. It shows the advantages of building machine learning surrogate models for learning the design topology - the relationship of design elements. It reveals a future tendency of the coexistence of the human designer and the machine, in which the machine learns the appearance and correlation between design data, while the human supervises the learning process.
We propose to use machine learning as a framework and graphic statics as a supporting method to provide training data, suggesting a new design methodology by the machine learning of the topology. Different from previous geometry-based design, in which only the design geometry is presented and considered, in this new topology-based design, the human designer employs the machine and provides training materials showing the topology of a design to train the machine. The machine finds the design rules related to the topology and applies the trained machine learning models to generate new design cases as both the geometry and the topology.