Structural Design II

The courses Structural Design I and II explain the fundamentals of how structures function. These courses put great emphasis on studying the relationship between the form of a structure and the internal forces within it by means of graphic statics.

Learning Goals

At the conclusion of the courses Structural Design I and II, students will be able to:

  1. visualize the internal forces within two-dimensional structural elements.
  2. understand the relationship between the form of a structure and the forces within it.
  3. modify the design of a structure in order to improve it.
  4. identify the most important structural typologies.
  5. use graphic statics for the form-finding and analysis of structures.
  6. carry out basic dimensioning of structural elements.
  7. respond to structural problems in a creative manner.


Structural Design I:

  • Fundamentals of static equilibrium
  • Introduction to graphic statics
  • Basic dimensioning of structural elements
  • Cables and stiffening schemes of cables
  • Arches and stiffening schemes of arches
  • Arch-cables structures

 Structural Design II:

  • Trusses
  • Beams
  • Frames
  • Plates
  • Buckling of compression elements 

General Information


Registration at is required.

Course Reader

The script Structural Design I&II is available for download in the right column under Files. It covers the content of the lectures as well as other interesting topics. 


"The art of structures, Introduction to the functioning of structures in architecture" (Aurelio Muttoni, EPFL Press, 2011, ISBN-13: 978-0415610292, ISBN-10: 041561029X)

"Faustformel Tragwerksentwurf" (Philippe Block, Christoph Gengangel, Stefan Peters, DVA Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt 2013, ISBN: 978-3-421-03904-0)

"Form and Forces: Designing Efficient, Expressive Structures" (Edward Allen, Waclaw Zalewski, October 2009, ISBN: 978-0-470-17465-4)

Exercise Afternoon

Alternating with the lecture, there is an exercise every other week. These exercises strengthen the understanding of the lecture content and serve as practical exam preparation. Support for the exercises, their solutions, and other course materials are available in digital form on eQUILIBRIUM: For this reason we recommend that you bring a laptop with internet access.

Active participation in the lessons is required. The lectures impart theoretical knowledge by means of practical examples and serve to prepare the respective exercise. These in turn include the practical application of basic knowledge of graphic statics as well as the implementation of what has been learned into the own design. It is therefore strongly recommended to hand in all exercises. In case of absence, it is mandatory to inform Mr Michele Capelli beforehand by e-mail.

Michele Capelli, MSc Arch. ETH, scientific assistant - teaching coordination
HIB E 47,  Mail:
Pedro Tosatto Siedel, MSc Arch. ETH, scientific assistant - teaching coordination
HIB E 47,  Mail:

Student Teaching Assistants
Chiabotti Matteo. Dillmann Félix, Eschbach Damaris, Fischer Sébastien, Franc Carmen, Frei Miro, Gmür Philipp, Imseng Rolf, Keller Joel, Kissling Ludwig, Liechti Antoine, Ly Yvonne, Magliore Vanessa, Meier Florin, Pabst Hannes

Office Hours

During the semester, the chair offers a time window for students to ask questions about the lectures or exercies. A walk-in consultation takes place every Friday between 13:00-14:00 at the chairs office in HIB E10.5 (by the stairs). More information can be found here.