Structural Xploration Lab

Uniting architecture and structural design, we are paving the way for the upcycling reuse of load-bearing components in buildings, hence contributing to the adoption of a circular economy by the construction industry. We also devise new computational means to enhance designer-machine collaborations at the early stages of the architectural/structural design process. Our research and education activities are driven by sustainability challenges, rooted in history, embracing complexity, and boosted by digital technology.

Launched in July 2016, the Structural Xploration Lab is led by Corentin Fivet, associate professor of Architecture and Structural Design at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The lab is attached to the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), is part of the Institute of Architecture (IA) and has connections with the Civil Engineering Institute (IIC). The lab is active in the teaching of structures and construction systems to architects (SAR).

The Structural Xploration Lab is also an integral member of the Smart Living Lab, a joint facility between EPFL, UniFr, and HEIA-FR, in Fribourg, Switzerland. The Smart Living Lab engages effective multi-disciplinary research on user-centered building technology through close collaboration between universities, private firms and public administrations.

Sarah Planchamp, diplômée en architecture devant le barrage de la Grande Dixence.© EPFL/Marie Geiser

What will the Grande Dixence region look like 200 years from now?

— Master’s project – An EPFL architecture student explored what the area around the Grande Dixence dam in Valais Canton might look like in 2223, drawing on scientific data to shed light on the long-term implications of environmental change.

© 2023 EPFL

B. Lambec invited to talk at IDEAS lunch

— On December 5th, Barbara Lambec (PhD candidate at the Structural Xploration Lab), presented a portion of her research to the crowd of the IDEAS. The IDEAS (Integrated Design, Architecture and Sustainability) program aims to address an increased integration of the various issues related to sustainable architecture within the framework of the Doctoral program Architecture & Science of the city (EDAR). Barbara Lambec presented an analysis of the interviews she conducted with stakeholders of reuse in the construction industry in the USA last year.

© 2023 EPFL

M.Bastien-Masse invited for a talk at the "ReuziDocumentation" launch

— This Tuesday November 28th, Maléna Bastien Masse (PhD., scientific collaborator at the Structural Xploration Lab), is invited by to present recent applications of concrete component reuse led by the SXL. The talk is part of the launch event for the new "Reuzi Documentation" tool. It takes place in Geneva.

© 2023 EPFL

C. Fivet invited for opening lecture by Vaud Canton

— On Monday November 27th, 2023, Prof. Corentin Fivet (Structural Xploration Lab) was invited by the Vaud Canton, Environment Department, to open the full-day workshop on the "Vaud Circular Transition: From waste to resources", which gathered a wide array of industry and public office participants. His talk focused on reuse in the construction sector, was complemented with interventions by Dunia Brunner (UNIL) and Nils Moussu (Fondation sanu durabilitas).

© 2023 EPFL

C. Fivet invited for closing lecture at Fondation Braillard

— This Thursday November 23rd, Prof. Corentin Fivet (Structural Xploration Lab), was invited by the Fondation Braillard Architectes to close the full-day "Transition Workshop 2023" on "what targets should cities have to address climate and ecological challenges". His 45' talk took place in Geneva and was received by architects, students, and local population.

© 2023 (Photo: Chloé Lambert)

Inaugural Lecture by Corentin Fivet

— Recently promoted to Associate Professor, Corentin Fivet (Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL) is providing its inaugural lecture at EPFL this Wednesday, 6PM. In his talk, Corentin Fivet will review recent research outputs and teaching activities from the Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL, related to reusing obsolete pieces in new building structures. Reflecting on the DNA that makes SXL what it is today, he will also attempt to characterise future academic opportunities, pitfalls, and ethical responsibilities for the SXL and the like, beyond current foci on material circularity.

© 2023 EPFL

Private unveiling of the FLO:RE slab

— This Tuesday evening, the Structural Xploration Lab unveiled its latest prototype to a selected panel of industrial, academic and professional partners. The FLO:RE slab is demonstrating the technical feasibility and high environmental relevance of reusing reinforced concrete slabs from obsolete buildings to new ones, a research project carried on by Célia Küpfer, PhD candidate at the SXL, with the support of Maléna Bastien Masse, Numa Bertola, and Corentin Fivet. More detailed layman and scientific publications about this breakthrough will soon be released.

© 2023 EPFL

C. Fivet invited for a talk at U. of Michigan

— On November 3rd, 2023, Corentin Fivet (Prof. at the Structural Xploration Lab) is providing a talk at the Taubman College – Architecture & Urban Planning, University of Michigan. Stemming from the Thesis Seminar on "Concrete Labor – Circularity", his talk will introduce recent research projects by the SXL dealing with the design of new methods to reuse load-bearing components from demolition sites to new building structures.

© 2023 EPFL

M. Bastien Masse invited at "Point de Mire 2023" by the ASR

— On November 2nd, 2023, Maléna Bastien Masse (Research collaborator at the Structural Xploration Lab), was invited for a talk at the "Point de Mire 2023" event organized by ASR, the Swiss Association for the Recycling of Construction Materials. The event held in Lausanne was titled "putting the circular economy into practice in construction".

© 2023 EPFL

C. Küpfer invited for a talk at HVL, Norway

— On October 26th, 2023, Célia Küpfer (PhD candidate at the Structural Xploration Lab), was invited to talk at the "Sustainability in Concrete Design – Does it take an engineer to design a building?" seminar event organized at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) and supported by Yngres Betongnettverk.

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