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As an architect, the task that has been assigned is to design a building with a

somewhat elliptical roof structure in which office blocks that should follow certain

specifications- are to be built inside.

Before going on to elaborate a design for this structure, there are some

previously determined measurements that should be mentioned. To begin with, the

whole building has a rectangular base 150 m long and 72 m wide. In addition, the roofs

height should follow the interval:

Each room in the office structure has to have at least 2.5 m in height.

generate a model that describes its physical form. When the height of the structure is 36

m, and its width is 72 m, we can set the curve on a pair of axis to determine its

intercepts and its opening width. Let us position the ellipse in a way that it is

symmetrical in relation to the y-axis (more for convenience purposes). The standard

equation for a quadratic function is given by:

y = ax2 + bx + c

However, given that the ellipse is symmetrical to the y-axis, its axis of symmetry

is equal to zero. So,

=0

b=0

y=ax2+c. The roofs height in this situation is said to be 36 m high, hence the shapes

maximum point has to have 36 as its y coordinate since it rests at the peak of the ellipse.

The maximum points x coordinate is given by the axis of symmetry, which as

previously found is equal to zero. Hence, the maximum point is (0, 36) and so the c= 36

in the model.

(0, 36)

Lucas Oliveira

In this coordinate system, the x-axis represents ground level (where y = 0), since

possible underground structures belonging to the roof are not to be considered. Also, the

width of the roof is 72 m, but since the shape is symmetrical to the y-axis, half of the

shape is to the y-axiss left and the other half to its right. Therefore, the y-axis cuts the

width in half, which means that the shapes roots are given by (-36,0) and (36,0). So, in

order to find the constant a, let us plug in one of the two points found in the equation y

= ax2 + 36:

0 = a (36)2 + 36

-36 = 1296a

1

a=

36

Hence, the model for the roof structure can be given by:

1 2

y= x + 36

36

The graph below represents the model found. It also represents a two

dimensional view of the roof structure. The red parabola would be the roof itself while

the area limited by the x-axis and the parabola is the area inside the building. The graph

for this model is the following:

Lucas Oliveira

Now, the roof alone does not make up for the whole building. There are other

key components to it, like a possible cuboid that would hold several offices. In order to

get the most out of the roof structure with the height of 36 m, finding the maximum

volume of the cuboid that fits in this structure is required. Let us illustrate this:

x x

Looking at the building in a two dimensional way, the cuboid would fit in the

roof structure in a way similar to the one represented above. The variables x and y can

assume any value, but since this situation requires the volume to be at its maximum, we

have to determine what values of x and y will allow the area of the rectangle above to

occupy the maximum space underneath the parabola. So to start with, it is necessary to

relate both x and y in a single expression. The area of a rectangle is given by the product

of its length and width. Ergo,

2xy = A

1 2

2x ( x + 36) = A

36

1 3

x + 72 x = A

18

optimize the situation by finding the derivative of the function given and equating it to

zero. When a derivative is equated to zero, the x values give the functions maximum

and minimum point.

Lucas Oliveira

1 2

A= x +72

6

1 2

0= x +72

6

x2 = 432

x = 12 3 (12 3 20.7846)

These two values for x give the maximum size of the cuboid that fits inside the

roof structure. The width goes from the point -12 3 to the point +12 3 , so its total

size is 24 3 (approximately 41.5692). To find the height of cuboid, the y value, simply

plug-in one of these two points found on the model previously developed:

1

y= (432) + 36

36

y = -12 + 36

y = 24

The length of the cuboid is the same as the length of the building itself (150 m).

So, to find the maximum volume of the cuboid that fits inside the roof structure:

Length: 150m , width: 24 3 m, height: 24m

V = 24 x 24 3 x 150

V 149649.12 m3

Now, the roof structure could have any height value between 36 m g 54 m,

suggesting that there might be a change in the cuboids dimensions.

The model for the roof structure is given by a broader function:

y = ax2 + g (where g is the roofs height and a is the roofs opening)

In a sense, by transcribing the function in this manner, one can have more

freedom to decide what values of g one wishes to use. But as there are two unknown

variables (a and g) that are dependent on one another. Hence, there is a way to rewrite a

in terms of g. Plugging in an unchangeable point (-36, 0):

0 = a(-36)2 + g

-1296a = g

g

a=

1296

Hence, the broader function could be rewritten as:

g 2

y= x +g

1296

Lucas Oliveira

these equations into one single volume expression. As mentioned earlier, the cuboids

width is given by (x + x), 150 m is the length of the cuboid and the building itself, and

the height is given by a y value that can be substituted by the equation found above.

Thus:

g 2

V = 2x (150) ( x + g)

1296

g 2

V = 300x ( x + g)

1296

25g 3

V = 300gx - x

108

To find the maximum volume, it is necessary to optimize the equation above by

finding its derivative and setting it to be equal to zero:

25g 2

V= 300g x

36

25g 2

0 = 300g x

36

25g 2

x = 300g

36

x2 = 432

x = 12 3

Once again, the values found for x are the same, meaning that the width of the

largest possible cuboid, regardless of the structures height, will always be 24 3 m.

However, the cuboids height can vary for different values of the roofs height.

Using the formula function in Microsoft Excel 2007, it is possible to find the

values of the cuboids height for different roof heights.

*All of the values below are in meters.

*periods are represented by commas Roof's Cuboid's

Height Height

36 24,0000

38 25,3333

40 26,6667

42 28,0000

44 29,3333

46 30,6667

48 32,0000

50 33,3333

52 34,6667

54 36,0000

*where the width (24 3 m ) and the length (150 m) are the same for all of the

different heights

Lucas Oliveira

Both the cuboids length and width are kept constant while the cuboids height

g 2

changes as the roofs height changes. The equation y= x +g shows the

1296

relationship between three variables (y: the cuboids height, g: the roofs height, and x:

the cuboids width). Since it has been found out that x is constant for any value of g or

y, it is plausible to say that y is directly proportional to g. So, in order to find y in terms

of g, let us simply substitute the unchangeable value for x, and simplify the expression:

g

y= (-12 3 )2 + g

1296

g

y= +g

3

2g

y=

3

Although the cuboid is occupying a large amount of space inside the whole

building, there are still areas that are left empty. Therefore, it is possible to calculate the

ratio of the empty space and the space occupied by the cuboid. To find the volume of

the whole building (Vb), it is necessary to use calculus integrals:

36 g 2

36

(150) (

1296

x + g)dx

36 25g 2

36

(150g

216

x ) dx

25g 3 36

Vb = [150gx x ] 36

648

25g 25g

Vb = [150g(36) (36)3]-[150g(-36)- (-36)3]

648 648

Vb = 7200g

So, the total volume of the building is given by 7200g and the volume of the cuboid (Vc)

is given by the product of its length, width, and height. Therefore, the volume of the

empty (Ve) space is given by:

Ve = Vb - Vc

2g

Ve = 7200g (150 *24 3 * )

3

Ve = 3043.0781g

Once again, using the formula tool in Microsoft Excel 2007, a ratio can be

determined for each different structure height value:

*All of the values below are in meters.

*periods are represented by commas

Lucas Oliveira

Height Cuboid Space (Ve : Vc)

36 149649,12 109550,88 0,732052

38 157962,96 115637,04 0,732052

40 166276,80 121723,20 0,732052

42 174590,64 127809,36 0,732052

44 182904,48 133895,52 0,732052

46 191218,32 139981,68 0,732052

48 199532,16 146067,84 0,732052

50 207846,00 152154,00 0,732052

52 216159,84 158240,16 0,732052

54 224473,68 164326,32 0,732052

As the table shows, the ratio between the empty space and the volume occupied

by the cuboid does not change. This means that for any value of the buildings height

within its given limitations, the ratio between the empty space and the volume of the

largest cuboid will always remain the same. So, increasing the roofs height will

increase the volume of the largest cuboid, but it will also increase the volume of empty

space proportionally.

The cuboid is the block where offices are going to be set in. Each floor cannot be

less than 2.5 m tall, which means that the number of office floors is dependent on the

cuboids height. Let us illustrate the situation for a better understanding:

*where red is the whole building, black is the cuboid, and green is the office

floors

As the illustration above shows, a different number of floors will fit inside the cuboid

with different heights. Not only that but each of these floors will have exactly the same

ground area and be at least 2.5 m tall. The buildings height is limited to the interval

36m g 54 m, and it was previously found that the buildings height is directionally

Lucas Oliveira

2g

proportional to the cuboids height by the equation: y = .So, by rearranging the

3

3y

equation, g = . Plugging in this value in the roofs height inequality:

2

3y

36 54

2

2 2

36*( ) y54*( )

3 3

24y36

The new interval for y values found above reveals the minimum and maximum

height for the office block.

Now, since each floor has to be at least 2.5 m tall, to find the number of floors a

certain cuboid may have simply requires us to divide the height of the office block by

2.5. Let us calculate the number of floors for each y value:

*periods are represented by commas

(m) floors

24 9,6

25 10

26 10,4

27 10,8

28 11,2

29 11,6

30 12

31 12,4

32 12,8

33 13,2

34 13,6

35 14

36 14,4

floors with decimals in them should be rounded to the smallest integer. By doing this, a

more synthesized table can be created, where the height of the cuboid is represented in

intervals:

Lucas Oliveira

Height of Cuboid

(m) Number of floors

24z<25 9

25z27,5 10

27,5z<30 11

30z<32,5 12

32,5z<35 13

35z<36 14

Now, the area of the base of the cuboid will always have a constant value, for the

area of the base can be found by the product of its width and length. As previously

found, the width of any cuboid within certain specifications is 24 3 m, and its length

will be the same as the buildings length: 150m. Therefore, the area of the base is found

by:

Area of base = 150 * 24 3

So, for the number of floors in the office block, the amount of floor area

increases accordingly. The only thing it takes is to multiply the area of the base by the

number of floors. Therefore, let us calculate the total office floor area for cuboids with

different floor numbers:

Floors Floor Area (m2)

9 56118,45

10 62353,83

11 68589,21

12 74824,59

13 81059,98

14 87295,36

Joining both tables 5 and 6 in a single table shows how the height of the building

changes the total office floor area.

Number of

floors Height of Cuboid Total Office Floor Area

9 24z<25 56118,45

10 25z27,5 62353,83

11 27,5z<30 68589,21

12 30z<32,5 74824,59

13 32,5z<35 81059,98

14 35z<36 87295,36

Lucas Oliveira

So, as the table above demonstrates, when the cuboid is at its maximum height,

there are more floors that can be built, which means more total floor area. In a way, this

is fairly simplistic.

In all of the calculations and examples so far, it has been considered that the

buildings faade was located at the bases smallest side. However, if the faade is said

to be put on the longest side of the base, some of the structural values could be altered.

Let us illustrate the situation:

y=ax2+g

In this situation, the full width of the roof structure is 150 m, which implies that

its roots are (-75, 0) and (75, 0). Therefore, by plugging in one of these values in the

equation above, a can be found in terms of g. Since the height of the building is

unknown at this stage, the model (to avoid confusion let us call it model2) will be kept

in terms of the variable g.

0 = a(-75)2 + g

g

a=

5625

g 2

y= x +g

5625

As previously done, in order to find the cuboid with maximum volume that

would fit in the structure, it is necessary to optimize the expression that will be formed

using the model2:

g 2

Area of the curve y: (2x)( x +g)

5625

2g

A = 2xg - x3

5625

Finding the derivative and equating it to zero:

2g

A = 2g - x2

1875

Lucas Oliveira

2g

2g - x2 = 0

1875

x2 = 1875

x= 1875 43.301

Therefore the width of the largest possible cuboid is 2 1875 m. The length of

the building is also known (72 m). Inserting one of the x values found in the model2:

g

y= (1875) +g

5625

1875 g

y= g

5625

2g

y=

3

Lucas Oliveira

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