The Structural Xploration Lab is involved in the teaching of architectural structures at ENAC. Our teaching philosophy places the focus on design processes rather than problem solving, at the border of synthetic and analytic thinking. We provide students with the required tools, methods and theories that will allow them to confidently steer the decision process related to the shaping of construction systems. We emphasize a clear understanding of the principles and their assumptions, with the goal of letting students develop their creativity at full scale but within safe bounds with regards to effective constructability and environmental challenges. We believe in the full collaboration of building professionals at every stage of the design process, as well as during the education of architects and engineers.
Introduction to the art of building: environmental and societal challenges, functional and technical requirements of buildings, static behavior of structures, construction materials and their geometric implementation, historico-cultural contextualization of the construction practice, sustainability strategies and circular economy.
Theoretical and case-based developments on the practice of building construction. Analysis and synthesis of the fields of building physics, structural design, building materials and technical installations.
ENAC week workshops bring together bachelor students in architecture, civil engineering and environmental engineering. Constructive Second Hand considers circular economy as an opportunity to better design while reclaiming wasted elements. Students are invited to the smart living lab in Fribourg, CH. Each group has one week and one goal: build a piece of furniture while reusing a maximum of discarded elements. The week gives full autonomy to the students and is divided in three steps: material collection, construction, and demonstration. A jury eventually discusses the how functional and technical qualities are reclaimed, as well as the potential for large-scale repeatability. The week is powered by invited lectures on the practice of reuse and life-cycle assessment.
Circular economy consists in maintaining and/or improving the value of products as long as possible, i.e. by extending or renewing their service live while minimizing resource depletion, waste generation, and greenhouse gas emissions. When it comes to building design, a series of sometimes contradicting strategies emerges: to limit the quantity of used materials, to limit their ecological impact, to enhance the versatility of buildings, and to ensure the future repair, reuse, or recycling of their components. The class delves into recent literature and practice, aiming at providing the necessary expertise to adopt these strategies in a pragmatic state of mind.
The class exposes students to the geometric design of unconventional low-carbon architectural structures. The focus is placed on the conceptual exploration of a rich and diverse solution set rather than on the analytical sizing of a given system. Hand-controlled methods and computational tools are mixed, as well as strategies to rapidly take key decisions. The open-ended problem assignment gravitates around the use of graphic statics within Grasshopper (Rhino3D). Additional lectures review exemplary early-stage structural design processes through history.
This course evolves around the team design of a temporary, mobile and sustainable pavilion, a pedagogical approach which will focus on the introduction of the concepts of sustainability applied to the multi-disciplinary design of a project with a short life span.
AR-497 “Building Design in the Circular Economy” is integrated in the following multidisciplinary ENAC minors:
- Minor in Integrated Design, Architecture and Sustainability
- Minor in Engineering for Sustainability
- Minor in Urban Planning and Territorial Development
Proposals for master theses in Architecture or Civil Engineering can be addressed to Corentin Fivet.
We are currently looking for master students to help us with specific lab projects.