Speaker: Prof. Dr. Philippe Block, Institute of Technology in Architecture, Department of Architecture , ETH Zurich

Wednesday, November 3rd, 11:00am, in BC 329

Title: Form Finding to Fabrication
An integrative digital design process for free-form masonry vaults

This talk will present a new computational form-finding method for exploring three-dimensional equilibrium shapes, inspired by the understanding of the old master builders. Through the use of intuitive graphical diagrams, the designer gains control over the exploration of form, which starts to blur the boundaries between funicular (compression-only) and free-form design. This innovative approach has been implemented in a fully digital process will be demonstrated through the design exploration of a free form unreinforced vault in cut stone, addressing challenges in tessellation, fabrication constraints and efficiency, and construction.

Short Bio:
Philippe Block is a structural engineer and architect and is Assistant Professor of Structural Engineering at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland, where he directs a research group in masonry structures and new structural form finding and fabrication approaches (see http://block.arch.ethz.ch/). He studied architecture and structural engineering at the Free University in Brussels and earned his PhD from MIT in 2009, where he developed a novel computational method for masonry vault assessment and design. As founding partner of Ochsendorf DeJong & Block, LLC, he applies his research into practice in the analysis of vaulted historic masonry with complex geometries and the design and engineering of compression structures pushing innovation in unreinforced masonry.