Meet the IASS 2024 Chairs – Philippe Block

Each week, one of the IASS 2024 Symposium Chairs answers four questions about the upcoming event. This week we spoke to Prof. Dr. Philippe Block.

You are the director of the NCCR Digital Fabrication, which is organising this year’s symposium. How are the topics of the NCCR DFAB relevant to IASS 2024?

The NCCR DFAB rethinks how we design and construct our buildings through computation and digital fabrication. What drives us is to find ways to build more responsibly (towards the environment, for example) and more productively. We want to build using fewer materials, better materials but also include ways to reduce resource use and waste production. 

Shell and spatial structures are key to achieving some of the above-mentioned targets, but we need clever ways to realise them. That is where computation and digital fabrication offer effective strategies to reintroduce shells and spatial structures but make them economically feasible in today’s construction. 

What do you look forward to during the symposium?

It will be great to see everyone again! The IASS is a great community that brings together some of the brightest minds and game-changers in structural design from academia and practice. I really hope that during this edition, we can develop ideas and discuss solutions to build better through elegant and efficient spatial structures. 

What will surprise people who attend?

That one can swim in the river going through the middle of Zurich. More seriously, I’m excited about the unique set of keynote speakers we have organised that are not the usual suspects. I hope they will provide some surprising insights. 

Is there anything you would like to share with the IASS 2024 participants?

Start thinking how we can make a difference, how we can start solving the environmental challenges, but also stand up and become ethical actors. And, of course, don’t forget your swimwear!