Thursday, August 6, 2009

Work & Play

Although this is my second post, I totally skipped the personal introduction part last time, so let me start from scratch. An architect by training and studying architectural computation in the US, I work at the Composite Construction Lab at EPFL’s school of architecture and engineering since the beginning of July. Quite similar to my research back in Boston, I work here on the physical manufacturing of building components with complex geometrical attributes (double curvature, for example).

The lab consists of doctoral and post-doctoral architects, structural engineers and aerospace engineers, all laboring on the appropriation of new lightweight materials to building construction, whether through fabrication studies or load tests and stress flow modeling. Recently, the group started exploring an extremely thin basalt-based weave that, in sandwich form, promises to have the best stiffness to strength ratio in the industry, surpassing structural steel and timber.





Building component prototypes in timber and steel

But, as interesting as work is, the real treats around here are the weekends, when it’s hard to resist the nearby Alps and the cloudless skies. Last weekend I joined Amy, a fellow ThinkSwisser and a group of friends to take on the Tour de Mayen, a seven hour long, steep hike with a thousand meter climb. Exhausting as it was, the view from the summit was worth it all: a bird’s eye view of Lake Geneva, hours before the August 1st celebrations in the cities and villages around the country. If we could only stay up there late enough to watch the fireworks….




Views of and from the summit of Tour de Mayen

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