Phillipe Block, Dean’s Forum Lecture: Beyond Bending – Learning from the Master Builders

Philippe Block is Associate Professor at the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich, where he co-directs the Block Research Group (BRG) together with Dr. Tom Van Mele. He is director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Digital Fabrication, and founding partner of Ochsendorf DeJong & Block (ODB Engineering). Block studied architecture and structural engineering at the VUB, Belgium, and at MIT, USA, where he earned his PhD in 2009. Research at the BRG focuses on equilibrium analysis, computational form finding, optimization and construction of curved surface structures, specializing in unreinforced masonry vaults and concrete shells. Within the NCCR, BRG researchers develop innovative structurally informed bespoke prefabrication strategies and novel construction paradigms employing digital and robotic fabrication. With BRG and ODB Engineering, Block applies his research into
practice on the structural assessment of historic monuments and
the design and engineering of novel compression structures.
Image: Armadillo Vault, Venice, Italy © Iwan Baan

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