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Department of Architecture Lecture Series: Philippe Block

PHILIPPE BLOCK, ETH ZURICH
Philippe Block specializes in architectural geometry, computational form-finding and structural optimization. He is an Associate Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) where he leads the Block Design Group and recently published “Shell Structures for Architecture”
Philippe Block’s structural analysis programs such as the RhinoVault plug-in allow designers to adjust free-form structures to be self-supporting. He has demonstrated how lightweight Catalan vaulting techniques can be extended in his practice with his former teacher, Professor John Ochsendorf of MIT. Block and Ochsendorf have worked together on projects such as the Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre a low-cost building in South Africa created with local clay, awarded 2009 “world building of the year” and an MLK Jr. Park memorial for Austin, TX.
He has won numerous awards and fellowships for his research, including the Hangai Prize (2007) and the Tsuboi Award (2010) from the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) for innovative contributions to the field, and the Edoardo Benvenuto prize (2012) for “scientific research on the history of Structural Mechanics and Art of Building”. He leads students in hands-on experimental building exercises and was awarded a Golden Owl Teaching Award in 2010.

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