ETH Zürich  |  DARCH  |  ITA  |  Structural Design 

As of January 2023, Prof. Dr. Joseph Schwartz retired from his academic activities at ETH Zurich after 15 years of intense committment to research and teaching. This page will continue to exist in the form of a digital archive of the Chair, yet it will be no longer updated.

Chair of Structural Design - Prof. Dr. Joseph Schwartz
The term “Structural Design” denotes the programmatic idea of a reconciliation between the disciplines of engineering and architecture through the reciprocal integration of load-bearing structure and architectural design concept. One of the central elements in this approach is represented by graphic statics, a vector-based geometric representation of the flow of forces within building structures as initially formalised by the ETH professor Karl Culmann (1821–1881). This view of structural systems encourages a unified understanding of the interplay of form and load-bearing capacity – that is, an understanding of the formative effect of the active inner forces in the building structure and the targeted control of these forces.

Given this particular perspective on structures, the research group of the Chair of Structural Design places specific emphasis on the investigation of all those aspects related to the design of buildings′ structure systems. In particular, research is developed in three main areas: computational graphic statics and its potential for the design and analysis of three dimensional structure systems; the interaction between form, forces and material systems through the development of novel construction technologies; the exploration of the engineering and construction history, aiming at a better understanding of the ways of thinking inherent to these disciplines and the potential for cross- disciplinary interaction.

Latest News

Seminar on research and teaching at AHO
Federico Bertagna was invited by Professor Bjørn Normann Sandaker to the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) to give lectures on his recent research and teaching activities. The seminar took place at AHO on 21.11.2022. More information can be found HERE.

Lecture at Roma Tre
On 21.10.2022, Davide Tanadini was invited by the Structures Research Group to give a lecture at the Department of Engineering of University Roma Tre, Rome. The title of the lecture was "Reconciling Additive Manufacturing, Robotic Assembly and Limit Analysis for Sustainable Constructions" and it illustrated Davide's recent research activities and projects. More information can be found HERE.

Summer Workshop “Structural Behaviorology”
From 29.08.2022 to 16.09.2022, Shuaizhong Wang, Yue Zhao, and Harada Tazuru have lead a joint design workshop entitled "Structural Behaviorology" under the collaboration of Chair of Structural Design, Chair of Architectural Behaviorology, and Chair of the History and Theory of Architecture. More information can be found HERE.

Lectures at IASS Symposium 2021
Federico Bertagna, Giulia Boller, Davide Tanadini, and Prof. Joseph Schwartz presented their current research on computational structural design and construction history within the IASS Symposium 2022. The event took place online from 19.09.2022 to 22.09.2022.

Seminar Week "Crafting Wood"
The Chair of Structural Design, together with the Raplab, is offering students a seminar week (23. - 29. October 2022) with the title: “Crafting Wood. Interweaving its Past, Present and Future”. More details on the trip and the integrated building workshop can be found HERE.

Design Workshop at Nanjing University
From 27.06.2022 to 11.07.2022, Federico Bertagna, Davide Tanadini, and Shuaizhong Wang will lead a design workshop entitled "Light Geometries: geometry-based approaches to structural, solar, and spatial design". The workshop was organized in collaboration with the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Nanjing University in China.

Presentation at 51N4E
Federico Bertagna was invited at the architectural office 51N4E to present the latest developments of his research activities. The presentation was held on the 16.06.2022. More information on 51N4E can be found HERE.

Special issue "Structural Thinking" in the "Architectural Journal"
A special issue, “Structural Thinking That Integrates Arts and Technologies”, was published in the in Architectural Journal No.3, April, 2022. The issue was co-edited by Ting Cao and Shuaizhong Wang, with 10 research papers on the theory, history, and technology of structural design. Further info available HERE.

Talk at Foster + Partners
Giulia Boller will discuss her current research on Heinz Isler′s experimental approach to shell design at Foster and Partners on the 01.12.2021.

"Strong Structures" Lecture Series
Ting Cao and Shuaizhong Wang will host an international online lecture series titled "Strong Structures" in collaboration with Position. In order to present different structural thinking, five chapters and ten lectures by ten international scholars will be presented online from 05.11 - 05.12. Further info is available HERE.

Lectures at IASS Symposium 2021
Federico Bertagna, Giulia Boller, Lukas Ingold, Patrick Ole Ohlbrock, and Prof. Joseph Schwartz will present their current research on computational structural design and construction history within the IASS Symposium 2021. The event will take place online from 23.08.2021 to 27.08.2021. More information can be found HERE.

Special issue "Strong Structures" in the Journal "The Architect"
A special issue, “Concepts, Methods and Practices - Reflections on “Strong Structures” in Architectural Design”, was published in the Journal The Architect in issue No.3, June, 2021. The issue was co-edited by Ting Cao and Shuaizhong Wang, with 4 research papers from the colleagues of the Chair and 3 interviews of architects and structural engineers. Further info available HERE.

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last modified 25.7.2023