The relationship between two optimal design problems is investigated: (a) The fixed geometry problem, where the topology is optimized for a predetermined geometry. (b) The fixed topology problem, where the geometry is optimized for a given topology. Assuming approximate linear programming formulations, conditions of optimality are derived and geometries of multiple optimal topologies are studied. Some considerations related to a general design procedure for optimization of topology, geometry and cross-sections are discussed. © 1990 Springer-Verlag.