Professor, Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich (link)
Philippe Block is Professor at the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich, where he directs the Block Research Group (BRG) together with Dr. Tom Van Mele. The BRG focuses on equilibrium analysis, computational form finding, optimisation and fabrication of curved surface structures, specialising in unreinforced masonry vaults and thin concrete shells. Prof. Block is also the director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication. Within the NCCR, the BRG develops innovative structural design strategies using bespoke prefabrication, pushing construction innovation.
Block studied architecture and structural engineering at the VUB in Belgium, and at MIT in the USA, where he earned his PhD in 2009. With the BRG and as partner of Ochsendorf DeJong & Block (ODB Engineering), he applies his research into practice on the structural assessment of historic monuments and the design and engineering of novel shell structures. He has won numerous awards for his research and work, including most recently the Berlin Arts Prize 2018 for Architecture. Block has lectured at top universities and leading engineering and architecture offices worldwide and is regularly invited as an expert consultant.
Professor and Head of School, UTS Sydney(link)
Francesca Hughes is a writer and educator in architecture who has more than 25 years experience teaching both design and history and theory at the Architectural Association and the Bartlett School of Architecture, U.C.L. She has recently been appointed professor of Architecture at UTS Sydney where she takes up the position of head of school in October.
Francesca is author editor of The Architect: Reconstructing her Practice (MIT Press, 1996), Drawings that Count (AA publications, 2013) and most recently, author of The Architecture of Error: Matter, Measure and the Misadventures of Precision (MIT Press, 2014). She has lectured widely on architecture’s fetishisation of precision and thus complicated relations to computation in the US, Australia and Europe, including at e-flux New York, The Berlage, Princeton, Yale, MIT, Harvard and the London Science Museum. Francesca is co-founder of the multidisciplinary practice Hughes Meyer Studio, with American artist/ecologist Jonathan Meyer and Hungarian architect/digital artist Gergely Kovàcs, whose work has been extensively published by AA Files, AD, ANY, AR, A/R/P/A, Artforum, Harvard Design Magazine, e-flux, Merrell, Random House (Monacelli), Routledge, University of Minnesota Press and Wiley and exhibited in the UK and abroad. The studio’s recent collaborations have included a book with classicist Mary Beard and historian of science David Edgerton, and an Arts Council of Great Britain funded film with Turner Prize nominee Catherine Yass. Francesca’s forthcoming book examines architecture’s role in the histoire longue durée of computation, tentatively entitled, Architecture’s Computer: a Spatial Prehistory of the Universal Discrete Machine.