This paper focuses on optimization methods and their role in the “digital chain” in architectural design and production. These methods were developed in the research phase of the project “New Monte Rosa Shelter” to improve cost efficiency and to adapt the design for the specific environmental and constructive constraints of the site. The New Monte Rosa Shelter is a project designed by students for a mountain shelter at high altitude. For transportation and construction reasons, optimization was required to minimize costs, material, and weight of the structure. For this project a series of programs using genetic algorithms were written to optimize the geometry of the wooden framework. These programs were combined to create a digital toolset, giving the architects direct output of surface information from the framing data, and allowing for output as a three-dimensional model. This optimization toolset gives creative control back to the architects themselves, who can now transform and manipulate the architecture. This paper describes the overall process, and outlines one specific optimization tool, a program that enables architects to “fill” the wooden framework automatically with different material and construction systems and understand the cost and efficiency implications based upon the structural analysis software and the programmed heuristic methods.