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 accelerating 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 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.

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© 2021 EPFL

The SXL welcomes Xavier Estrella as Postdoc

— Xavier Estrella (PhD from Pontifical Chile and Sydney) joined the Structural Xploration Lab earlier this month as postdoctoral researcher. He will be actively contributing on the ready-for-reuse slab-and-column system developed by the lab over the past years. He will also take part in projects related to the design of building parts that enable more component reusability.

© 2021 EPFL

Computational methods for flood-resilient shelters in South Sudan

— A collaboration between the Structural Xploration Lab (EPFL) and the humanitarian organization Medair has been selected by a panel of international experts to perform research aimed at improving current shelter solutions in South Sudan, especially in the face of recurrent devastating flooding events. The 2-year-long project is an application to a call launched by EPFL Tech4Dev, Technological Innovation for Impact in the Global South. It will also involve collaborators from the University of Juba (South Sudan), from the smart living lab, and from the Atelier PopUp experimental facilities in Fribourg.

© 2021 EPFL

Catherine De Wolf appointed at ETHZürich

— Congratulations to Catherine De Wolf for starting a new position as Tenure-Track Assistant Professor at ETH ZÜrich, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering. Catherine was postdoctoral researcher at the Structural Xploration Lab from 2017 to 2020. We are happy that she will continue strengthening the needs for more circular buildings from our sister university.

© 2021 SXL

Journal paper on reusable kit of parts in Automation in Construction

— A promising strategy to enable structural component reuse consists in designing a bespoke kit of parts whose elements are ready to be assembled in multiple structural arrangements, fulfilling different purposes. The ability to reuse kit-of-parts elements allows to manufacture only a subset of components compared to one-off constructions thus reducing material requirements.

© 2021 EPFL

Prof. C. Fivet speaker at the Climate and Sustainability Action Week

— Prof. Corentin Fivet (Structural Xploration Lab) is invited as a panel speaker at the first edition of the Climate and Sustainability Action Week, which focuses on Circular Economy and takes place virtually in February 2021 (18-20th & 27-28th). The EPFL Climate and Sustainability Action Week asks students to explore collectively how to act upon complex sustainability issues as engineers, scientists and architects. Corentin Fivet's contribution will highlight the opportunities, challenges and limits of the circular economy applied to the built environment.

© 2021 Driven / Bollinger+Grohmann

Expert Lecture – DRIVEN – Circular Economy in Structural Design

— Jan Brütting invited to present at online workshop tutored by Bollinger+Grohmann

© 2020 EPFL

The SXL welcomes Maléna Bastien Masse as Postdoc

— Maléna joins the SXL this January 2021 as a postdoctoral researcher for the FNS project on the reuse potential of architectural components in the Swiss building stock. Malena’s research interest covers the preservation and strengthening of existing structures as well as sustainable and circular solutions for the construction industry.

© 2020 EPFL

I.Mirtsopoulos receives EDCE Mobility Award

— Ioannis Mirtsopoulos, PhD student at the Structural Xploration Lab, SXL, is a winner of the EDCE PhD Mobility Award, October 2020. This award is given by the doctoral program in Civil and Environmental Engineering (EDCE) to encourage the best PhD students within the program to go for an academic visit to an external research institution. Read Ioannis’ testimony about his PhD research and his future academic visit to MIT.

Brütting's modular system assembled near the Smart Living Lab in Fribourg © 2020 EPFL

Computational methods to ease the reuse of construction materials

— Algorithms developed at EPFL can help architects to design building structures that incorporate both new and reused components, thereby lowering their environmental impact.

© 2020 EPFL

Sustainability through Reuse @ WSBE 2020

— November 2-4, 2020 – Chalmers University, Sweden

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