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.

© 2024 EPFL

Journal paper on the environmental footprint of large building stocks

— The Cleaner Environmental Systems journal publishes our paper on the "Multiscale Spatiotemporal Characterization of Embodied Environmental Performance of Building Structures in Geneva from 1850 to 2018". Authored by Corentin Fivet (SXL, EPFL), Catherine De Wolf (ETHZ), Thibaut Menny (ETHZ), Séréna Vanbutsele (HEIA-FR) and André Stéphan (U. of Melbourne), the paper applies new methods to better characterize the evolution of the embodied emissions related to the construction of large building stocks.

© 2024 EPFL

Concrete reuse history presented at 8ICCH, Zürich

— Célia Küpfer, PhD candidate at the Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL, presented new results related to the history of concrete component reuse in architecture in Europe, at the occasion of the 8th International Congress on Construction History, held in Zürich, June 24-28 2024. The paper "Structural component reuse of precast and cast-in-place reinforced concrete in architecture since the late 1960s in Europe" was part of a thematic session on "the history of deconstruction, salvage and reuse in a larger perspective".

© 2024 EPFL

RebuiLT pavilion & study on North-American reuse presented at WSBE24

— The Structural Xploration Lab presented two papers at this year World Sustainable Built Environment conference, which happened virtually from June 12 to 14, 2024. The first paper "From soon-to-be demolished mushroom column slabs to reused reinforced concrete saw-cut assemblies: the case of the rebuiLT pavilion" presented the rebuiLT pavilion and was authored by Célia Küpfer (SXL, EPFL), Malena Bastien-Masse (SXL, EPFL), Maxence Grangeot (SXL/CRCL, EPFL), Christian Meier (rebuiLT, EPFL), Lancelot Graulich (rebuiLT, EPFL), Julien Pathé (SCOP2401) and Corentin Fivet (SXL, EPFL). The second paper "Learning from North Americans: barriers and levers to reuse from practitioners' experiences" analysed interviews that Barbara Lambec (SXL, EPFL) made during a recent study trip in the USA and Canada. The paper is authored by Barbara Lambec, Maléna Bastien-Masse and Corentin Fivet.

© 2024 EPFL

M. Bastien-Masse at Sustainable Economy Forum

— On Thursday June 20th, Dr. Maléna Bastien-Masse (Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL) was invited for a talk on circular design at the "Sustainable Economy Forum" event jointly organized by the E4S center and UBS Lausanne. The talk triggered a fascinating discussion among the attendees.

© 2024 EPFL

C. Fivet gives keynote at Challenging Glass Conference 9

— This Thursday June 20th, 2024, Prof. Corentin Fivet (Structural Xploration Lab), gives the closing keynote lecture at the Challenging Glass Conference 9, organized at TU Delft, The Netherlands. He will address the new design paradigms, opportunities and pitfalls related to the reuse of building components.

© 2024 EPFL

C. Küpfer invited at 'Artisans de la Transition' conference

— On June 12th, 2024, Célia Küpfer (PhD candidate at the SXL, EPFL) takes the stage at the latest evening event organized by the 'Artisans de la Transition', focusing on Carbon budget and strategies for the construction sector in Switzerland. She is speaking alongside Susana Jourdan (la revue durable), Thomas Jusselme (HEIA-FR, Vizcab), Stéphane Fuchs (Atba Architecture), and Gnanli Landrou/Thibault Demoulin (Oxara). Her talk is about component reuse in the construction industry with a focus on the reuse of reinforced concrete elements for new building structures.

© 2024 EPFL

B. Lambec moderates for Matilda Matériauthèque

— On June 7th, 2024, Barbara Lambec (PhD candidate at SXL, EPFL), moderated a discussion on Resources and Reuse between Laurent Audergon (SZS Swiss Center for Steel Construction), François Girod (BétonSuisse), and Lucie Mérigeaux (Lignum). The event was organized by Matilda Matériauthèque and open to a large public, in Lausanne.

© 2024 EPFL

C. Küpfer speaks at iStructE Climate Emergency Conference 2024

— On Wednesday evening, June 12th, 2024, Célia Küpfer (PhD candidate at the SXL, EPFL) gives an invited talk at the Climate Emergency Conference 2024 organized by the UK-based Institution of Structural Engineers. She is the first of six speakers of the third and last session, on "Advancements and initiatives in sustainability resources". More than 500 participants registered to the online conference.

© 2024 EPFL

C. Fivet gives a lecture at Fondation Braillard

— On Friday June 3rd, Corentin Fivet (Prof. at the Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL) was invited by the Fondation Braillard to give a lecture for the participants of the 2024 Transition Workshop. His two-hour lecture was followed by talks by Duncan Baker-Brown (Brighton University), Sarah Barth (Atelier für Architektologie) and René Longet (politician and expert in sustainable development).

Barbara Lambec is an architect and a heritage specialist.  © 2024 EPFL / Alain Herzog

Making yesterday's commonplace today's innovation

— How can we renormalize reuse? That’s the question posed by Barbara Lambec, an architect, heritage specialist, and researcher at EPFL’s Structural Xploration Lab (SXL), in this column published in three daily newspapers in French-speaking Switzerland.

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