Learning from the past to design a better future

The BLOCK Research Group (BRG) at the Institute of Technology in Architecture, ETH Zurich, lead by Prof. Dr. Philippe Block and Dr. Tom Van Mele, has three core areas of research: equilibrium analysis and design of vaulted masonry structures, computational form finding and structural optimization of curved surface structures, and fabrication and construction innovation for novel shell structures.

Inspired by master builders and learning from the past, the BRG aims to provide appropriate assessment strategies for architectural heritage, develop novel structural design approaches for highly efficient and expressive structural form, and propose and implement new and economic construction paradigms.

The novel “structural geometry” concepts introduced by the BRG, provide intuitive and geometrical approaches to structural design, bridging the gap between architecture and engineering.

Part of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) "Digital Fabrication", the BRG develops innovative, structurally informed, optimised building processes in architecture.