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Structural Design I+II

Structural Design I+II introduces the design and behavior of structures and structural materials. The courses emphasize the development of structural form and the principles of structural design. Design methods such as graphic statics or structural models are introduced and a direct application to roof systems, bridges, and buildings is shown and trained in lectures, colloquia, hands-on exercises and projects.

More Info

Since Fall 2015, Structural Design I+II is a joint cooperation between the Block Research Group and the Chair of Structural Design. The courses now follow a two-year curriculum involving both professors and their chairs throughout. New and updated teaching materials have been developed that lead to a solid grounding in structural design with a focus on how the principles may be applied directly to students’ projects. 

Learning Goals

The main goal of Strucutral Design I+II is to develop an intuitive understanding of the relationship between the shape of a structure, the load it needs to carry, and the forces in it. 

After the course you should be able to:

  • apply basic structural principles;
  • visualise possible force flows in structures by using the unified graphical method;
  • dimension structural elements for typical building materials and have an awareness of material properties and their design potential;
  • understand and apply the tectonic logic and construction methods of common assembly techniques and have an awareness of their design potential;
  • analyse structures using appropriate terminology and objective arguments;
  • question structural design concepts of historical and contemporary references in a critical manner; and...
  • design an appropriate structural system for a given design challenge by taking into consideration the wide range of possible inner force flow paths.

General Information

Teaching platform

The interactive platform eQUILIBRIUM is used as a central learning tool. This platform is an interactive environment for graphic statics-based structural design. Here you can find not only all necessary documents for lectures and exercises but also more in-depth possibilities to use graphic statics, provided by examples, case studies and interactive drawings.

Course Reader

The course reader is the book „FAUSTFORMEL TRAGWERKSENTWURF“ by Philippe Block, Christoph Gengnagel and Stefan Peters. The book can be purchased at the first lecture and at the chair. We also recommend the book “FORM AND FORCES” by Edward Allen and Waclaw Zalewski for a better understanding of the course material. The chair provides the worksheets and the material for the exercises.

Participation at the exam

Active participation in the exercise sessions is essential to be properly prepared for the end-of-year exam. The exercises have to be solved correctly and neatly. We strongly recommend to do all the exercises. In case of absence due to sickness or other acceptable emergencies, it is important to inform our team beforehand by e-mail.

Office Hours

Students can ask questions about the lecture and the exercises every Wednesday 10:00-11:00 in HIB E 47 without reservation.



Teaching Assistants

Chair Block: Marlen Aeschlimann
Chair Schwartz: Roshanak Haddadi

Koje assistants

Maximilian Mittelstaedt, Felix Dillmann, Kerstin Spiekermann, Michele Capelli, Johann Tran, Pedro Tassato Siedel, Rahel Andrea Hüsler, Nora Tamara Heeb, Alexandra Grieder, Eva Schneuwly, Nina Dettwiler, Sarah Greuter


Teaching Assistants

Chair Block: Emma Radaelli, Marlen Aeschlimann
Chair Schwartz: Lluis Enrique, Roshanak Haddadi

Koje Assistants

Alcide Bähler, Sophie Ballweg, Michele Capelli, Stéphane Chau (Spring only), Maurin Elmer, Lea Frauenfelder (Fall only), Nadja Friesch, Alexandra Grieder (Spring only), Sarah Greuter, Mahela Hack, Nora Heeb, Rahel Hüsler, Joël Heritier, Sebastian Pfammatter, Johann Tran


Teaching Assistants

Chair Block: Marcel Aubert, Emma Radaelli, Claudia Brunier-Ernst
Chair Schwartz: Ole Ohlbrock, Lluis Enrique, Andrea Biancardi

Koje Assistants

Alcide Bähler, Oliver Burch, Stéphane Chau, Maurin Elmer, Nadja Friesch, Alexandra Grieder, Mahela Hack, Joël Heritier, Joël Schärer , Kerstin Spiekermann


Teaching Assistants

Chair Block: Marcel Aubert, Hannes Hofmann, Claudia Brunier-Ernst, Emma Radaelli
Chair Schwartz: Patrick Ole Ohlbrock, Lluis Enrique, Lukas Ingold

Koje Assistants

Nico Läser, Maurin Elmer, Lea Frauenfelder, Nadja Friesch, Alexandra Grieder, Sven Högger, Joël Heritier, Rafael Schäfer, Joël Schärer, Lian Stäheli


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ETH Zurich
Institute of Technology in Architecture
Block Research Group
Stefano-Franscini-Platz 1, HIB E 45
8093 Zurich, Switzerland

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