Philippe Block: Strength through Geometry

Philippe Block on the Future Master Builder

Melbourne School of Design
B117 Theatre, Basement,
Building 133, Glyn Davis Building
University of Melbourne, VIC 3010


Following recent advice from the Australian Government, tonight’s public lecture ‘Philippe Block: Strength through Geometry’ is cancelled.

However, Phillippe has kindly agreed to present his lecture at the scheduled time of 7.30pm tonight via Facebook - tune into @msdsocial to watch.

We will also be publishing his talk on the Melbourne School of Design YouTube channel later this week.

We extend our best wishes to everyone and apologise for any inconvenience.

Philippe Block (ETH Zurich), innovator in environmentally-conscious construction, makes his first appearance at Melbourne Design Week.

Throughout history, master builders have discovered expressive forms through the constraints of economy, efficiency and elegance. There is much to learn from the structural and constructional principles they developed. Drawing from a revival of forgotten knowledge combined with the latest advances in the design, engineering, fabrication and construction of doubly-curved shell structures, the Block Research Group (BRG) at ETH Zurich develops novel computational structural design strategies to utilise digital fabrication and push construction innovation.

To address the grand challenges posed by climate change, the group’s research follows the motto “strength through geometry” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (particularly embodied carbon) and use fewer virgin resources. By developing innovative, structurally informed bespoke prefabrication strategies and novel construction paradigms employing digital fabrication, construction waste can be minimised and productivity dramatically increased. There is an urgent need to change the way we design and build our structures and to disrupt the construction technologies for architecture.

This lecture will reveal the foundations upon which the Armadillo Vault, NEST-HiLo, KnitCandela and many other projects by the BRG were based.

About Philippe

Dr. Philippe Block is a full professor at the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich, where he leads the Block Research Group (BRG) with Dr. Tom Van Mele. Philippe is also Director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Digital Fabrication. Philippe studied architecture and structural engineering at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, where he earned his PhD in 2009. With the BRG, he applies research into practice on the design and engineering of novel shell structures. He has won numerous awards, including the Rössler Prize for most promising young professor from ETH Zürich (2018) and the Berlin Arts Prize 2018 for Baukunst.

This event is made possible by the Treseder Fellowship.

This event is part of Melbourne Design Week