Swinburne Design Lecture Series 2020

Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn Campus, Australia

Wednesday, 18 March 2020 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm (AEDT)

About this Event

Throughout history, master builders have discovered expressive forms through the constraints of economy, efficiency and elegance. There is much to learn from the structural and constructional principles they developed. Drawing from a revival of forgotten knowledge combined with the latest advances in the design, engineering, fabrication and construction of doubly-curved shell structures, the Block Research Group (BRG) at ETH Zurich develops novel computational structural design strategies to utilise digital fabrication and push construction innovation. To address the grand challenges posed by climate change, the group’s research follows the motto “strength through geometry” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (particularly embodied carbon) and use fewer virgin resources. By developing innovative, structurally informed bespoke prefabrication strategies and novel construction paradigms employing digital fabrication, construction waste can be minimised and productivity dramatically increased. There is an urgent need to change the way we design and build our structures and to disrupt the construction technologies for architecture. This lecture will reveal the foundations upon which the Armadillo Vault, NEST-HiLo, KnitCandela and many other projects by the BRG were based. https://block.arch.ethz.ch/brg/files/BLOCK_2020_Structural-Engineer_ Redefining-structural-art_1578310555.pdf

Dr Philippe Block is a full professor at the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich, where he leads the Block Research Group (BRG) with Dr. Tom Van Mele. Philippe is also Director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Digital Fabrication. Philippe studied architecture and structural engineering at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, where he earned his PhD in 2009. With the BRG, he applies research into practice on the design and engineering of novel shell structures. He has won numerous awards, including the Rössler Prize for most promising young professor from ETH Zürich (2018) and the Berlin Arts Prize 2018 for Baukunst.



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