Structural Xploration Lab

Uniting architecture and structural design, we forge new ways of designing load-bearing systems that are less material-intensive and reusable over multiple use cycles, hence contributing to the adoption of an industrial circular economy by the construction sector. We also devise new computer 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, tenure-track assistant 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 strong 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.

subscribe to our news.

Jan Brütting awarded the IASS Hangai Prize

— Monday, October 7, 2019, Barcelona, Spain.

Lecture by Prof. C.Fivet at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

— October 4, 2019. Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.

Ioannis Mirtsopoulos (SXL) wins the eCAADe grant in Porto

— eCAADe + SIGRADI conference, Septembre 9-13, 2019, University of Porto (FAUP)

Structures & Architecture 2019

— International Conference on Structures and Architecture – ICSA 2019, July 24-26, 2019 – Lisbon

The new age of reuse: Corentin Fivet interviewed in Tracés

— Prof. Corentin Fivet interviewed in Tracés magazine (SIA), 14-15/2019

Research and Design Workshop on Circular Economy

— July 2nd, 2019 — 1-4 PM — smart living lab (Halle Bleue, Fribourg)

Minimizing Energy in Construction

— Talk by John Orr (U. of Cambridge, UK) – Thursday June 20, 2019 – 12:00 – GC B1 10, EPFL Ecublens

Life-Cycle Structural Design

— Corentin Fivet, invited panelist at FoDNYC – June 1st, 2019.

Reduce & Reuse through Design Exploration — 变废为宝的设计

— Nanjing University of the Arts, May 9, 2019, 18:30-20:00 at 南京艺术学院 

Workshop on Parametric Graphic Statics

— Nanjing University, School of Architecture & Urban Planning, China

Hands-on reuse

— article in 'La liberté', 6/5/2019

EPFL's Fribourg campus hosted three ENAC Weeks for the first time

— For the first time, EPFL’s Fribourg campus hosted three ENAC Weeks at once. Participating students made furniture from reused materials, built emergency shelters, and tested out formwork systems for textile-reinforced concrete.

The reuse of structural components for multiple service lifes

— Jan Brütting (SXL) interviewed by IABSE 'Future of Design' NYC

Form and structure: design research and teaching/learning experiences

— International Seminar, Politecnico di Torino, April 12, 2019

New Insights on Ancient Chinese Spiral Domes

— The Structural Xploration Lab at the Sixth Annual Conference of the Construction History Society, Cambridge, UK, April 5-7, 2019

Design of Truss Structures through Reuse

— Check out our new publication in Structures, Volume 18, April 2019, pages 128-137 !

Conceptual Design of Structures 2019 – Call for papers

— Call for papers

The Reuse of Load-Bearing Systems

— Buildings as Material Banks – A Pathway for a Circular Future, Brussels, February 6-7, 2019

Construction & Deconstruction in America

— Talk by Prof. Carl Haas – Monday January 21, 2019 11am – smart living lab, Fribourg

Congratulations to Thibaut & Célia

— Master projects advised by SXL receive sustainability prizes, December 2018

Habitats in Time – Mapping Geneva's embodied carbon legacy

— Doctoral Seminar – 12-14 December, 2018

Measuring the Benefits of Reusing Structural Components

— The Structural Xploration Lab at PLEA 2018 conference, Hong-Kong

Strommast wird zum Bahnhofdach

— SXL featured in Handelszeitung 15. November 2018

Halle 118 – Architecture of Reuse

— baubüro in situ – November 29, 2018 – 15:00 – BC 01

Parametric design of transformable structures – VUB

— Friday, 19.10.2018

MVRDV Planet Week

— October 1-5, 2018

Joseph Desruelle wins SIA Vaud prize

— Magistrale EPFL, Saturday, 06.10.2018

SXL Talks @ Ney & Partners

— Monday 8.10.2018

Research Culture in Architecture 2018

— September 27-28, 2018 – FATUK, Faculty of Architecture TU Kaiserslautern

A. Muresan & I.Mirts at the smart living lunch

— Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, 11am-1pm – smart living lab, Fribourg

Computational Methods for Design in the Circular Economy

— Monday July 23, 2018 – Manchester, MA

Structural Design from Reuse and for Reuse, at the IASS 2018

— Papers at the Annual Symposium of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures, at MIT, Boston. July 16-20, 2018

Chinese Opera Domes: reciprocal, cantilever, or stack?

— Paper presented at the 6th ICCH, Brussels, July 9-13 2018

Mobility Award winner May 2018

— Jan Brütting from the Structural Exploration Lab, SXL is a winner of the Mobility Award, May 2018

Low-Embodied Energy Structures from Reused Elements

— EG-ICE – June 11, 2018 – Lausanne.

Towards a regenerative building sector?

— Corentin Fivet invited at the Losinger Marazzi annual Technical gathering.

EPFL students recycle an old industrial site of Fribourg

— Architecture students from EPFL have built a pavilion out of materials recovered from an old research facility in Saint-Aubin, in Fribourg Canton. The structure, The structure will be inaugurated on 1 June and will be on display at the University of Lausanne for six months.

SXL workshop at Nanjing University, China

— May 28 to June 2, 2018

ENAC week – let's reuse your waste

— Semaine ENAC – du neuf construit avec vos déchets.

O. Baverel on Affordable Complex Structures

— Wednesday May 2nd, 2018 – 17h00 – smart living lab

"reduce & reuse" – new tools for structural exploration

— Corentin Fivet (SXL) @ Ecoles des Ponts, Paris, Wednesday 28/03/2018 1pm

Reusing electric pylons to design the roof of a train station

— For his Master’s project, Joseph Desruelle devised a plan to reuse steel bars from dismantled electricity pylons to make a new roof for the Lausanne train station. This approach is still theoretical, but reusing materials in this way could one day become commonplace.

Life Cycle Assessment As A Tool For Design @ Greenbuild Europe

— Wednesday, April 18 – 10:00 – 11:00 – Berlin, Germany

Accurately measuring embodied carbon in buildings

— Embodied carbon in the construction industry is a major factor of climate change, but it is rarely measured accurately. A reference text co-edited by an EPFL researcher calls for greater transparency surrounding embodied carbon, along with the introduction of international standards.

O.Iuorio on Lightweight Steel Systems

— Wednesday March 14th, 2018 · 11:30 · smart living lab · Fribourg

IEA Experts' Dialogue on Materials trends in Buildings Construction

— 9 March 2018 – Saint Gobain, 18 avenue d’Alsace, 92400 Courbevoie

quantifying carbon & reusing structural elements

— smart living lunch – Tuesday, 6 February 2018, 11:00am

Combinatorial Equilibrium / Structural Folding

— Monday Feb 6, 2018 – 13:00 in HBL – smart living lab – EPFL Fribourg

Graphic Statics: shared tools for Chinese architects and engineers?

— Architectural Journal – China – #590 – November 2017 – pp.20-25

Life-Cycle Assessment of Digital Fabrication and Parametric LCA

— Wednesday December 6th, 2017 · 12h00 Halle Bleue, smart living lab, BlueFactory, Fribourg

Prof. Fivet on the future of construction – live RTS "+3 degrés"

— Wednesday, 29 November 2017, 8:05

"Matière Grise" exhibit in Fribourg

— 15 Novembre 2017, 18:00, HEIA

invited talk at "Conference Zero Carbone"

— 16 Novembre 2017, all day, Fribourg

G.Guscetti(Ingeni) sur la conception des volières du bois-de-la-bâtie

— Jeudi 9 Novembre 2017 · 15h15 · salle BC01 · EPFL · Ecublens

“Structural Exploration for a Low Carbon Future” at MIT

— November 9, 2017 at 12pm – Department of Architecture, MIT, Boston

SXL at the Carbon Leadership Forum

— November 7-8, 2017 – Conference Center West, Jonathan Spack Community Conference Center, Boston

C. De Wolf (SXL) invited at CalPoly

— November 2, 2017 – California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly)

“Low Carbon Pathways for Structural Design” at Stanford University

— November 1, 2017 – Yang & Yamazaki Energy & Environment Building, 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, California 94305-4020

Swiss premiere F.Otto 'Spanning the Future' + lecture by J.Lienhard

— Monday Nov 20th, 2017 · screening at 12:00 & 19:00; lecture at 17:30 · Auditorium SG1

Anne Paduart (VUB) on Circular Building Design

— Thursday November 16th, 2017 · 15h15 · room BC01 · EPFL Ecublens

C. De Wolf (SXL) for a lecture at UC Berkeley

— October 30, 2017 at 5:10pm, Davis 534, UC Berkeley, USA

Catherine De Wolf invited at NCCR Digital Fabrication – Zürich

— October 23, 2017 at 12pm – HIB Open Space 2, ETH Zurich Hönggerberg Campus, Forschungsgebäude D-ARCH, Stefano-Franscini-Platz 1, Zurich

The SXL in Hamburg for IASS 2017

Catherine De Wolf joins the SXL as EPFL Fellow

Last reassembly of the ski pavilion in Lyon

"Waste your time, not materials!" at the Part-Dieu shopping mall.

— Lyon, from June 19th to July 1st, 2018

Corentin Fivet invited by Archipel for a public round table in Lyon

— Saturday, June 17th, at 'La Sucrière', Lyon

The ski pavilion at the Biennale Architecture Lyon

— From June 7th to June 18th, 2017.

Corentin Fivet interviewed in Magazine Bâtir

Jan Brütting at "Pitch your Impact Contest"

The ski pavilion in Lausanne

— May 22nd-24th, 2017

Invited workshop at Roma Tre, Italy

— From Monday May 22nd to Friday May 26th

Invited Lecture at Southeast University, China

— May 19th, 2017.

The Structural Xploration Lab featured in Revue d'A

— Revue d'A, n°253, Mai 2017, pages 61-63

Invited workshop at Nanjing University, China

— From Mon. May 15th to Fri. May 19th

Invited Lecture at Tongji University, Shanghai

— May 14th, 2017 – Tongji University, China

Corentin Fivet awarded a Best Research Paper at ACE 2017

— 5th Annual International Conference on Architecture & Civil Engineering, Singapore

'Constructive Second Hand' workshop succesfully concludes

— smart living lab, ENAC, Fribourg, CH.

Walter Stahel on Reuse and the Circular Economy

— Wednesday May 3rd, 2017, 9:45, at the Halle Bleue, smart living lab, Fribourg

ENAC week "Seconde-Main Constructive" kick off

R.Haerlingen (Rotor) on Deconstruction

— Tuesday April 25th, 2017 – 13h15 – GC D0 386 · EPFLausanne

Building a nomad pavilion out of old skis

— Could recovered materials play a key role in tomorrow’s civil engineering? EPFL researchers set out to answer that question by creating an easily demountable pavilion out of more than 200 reclaimed skis.

SXL pre-selected for the Architecture Biennale in Lyon

— The smart living lab and ENAC will take part in BAL 2017.

The Halle Bleue to host international seminar on 3D Graphic Statics

— Monday, February 6th, 2017 @ Halle Bleue, smart living lab, Fribourg, CH.

SXL in the news

Tom Peters on Demountable Construction Details

— Monday, January 23rd, 4pm, Fribourg.

A. Pugnale: How Virtual Becomes Real

S.Colabella & J.Brütting (SXL) invited to Smart Living Lunch

— Tuesday, Jan. 10, 11am

Sofia Colabella on timber gridshells

— upcoming this Friday.

Corentin Fivet guest editor for special issue of IJSS

The SXL at IASS 2016 in Tokyo

The Structural Xploration Lab at ICSA 2016

— Corentin Fivet participates in the 3rd International Conference on Structures and Architecture, Guimarães, Portugal.

The smart living lab moves to the blueFACTORY site

— As of December 2015, the collaborators of the smart living lab, the center for research and development for the built environment of the future, will move to the Blue Hall, on the former Cardinal site in Fribourg. An Open House event organized by blueFACTORY will take place on Saturday, December 12, 2015. Everybody is welcome to visit.

The Smart Living Lab Project Kicks Off

— The official launch of the smart living lab project marks the first step towards the development of a new center of excellence for technological, societal, and legal aspects of sustainability in the built environment. Ultimately, over 80 people will be working on-site in a building designed to push the boundaries of sustainable construction and architecture.

Interview with Corentin Fivet, new professor at the smart living lab

— Corentin Fivet, formerly a post-doc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, United States, has been named tenure track assistant professor of architecture and structural design at the School for Architecture, Civil, and Environmental Engineering (ENAC). He has just taken up his post at the smart living lab, a research and development center that is run jointly by EPFL, the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg, and the University of Fribourg.