Yves Weinand

photo placeholder image

Associate Professor

yves.weinand@epfl.ch +41 21 693 23 90 http://ibois.epfl.ch

GC H2 711 (Bâtiment GC)
Station 18
CH-1015 Lausanne

Administrative data

Infoscience publications



The predominance of steel and later reinforced concrete in research and practical applications within the fields of structural engineering and materials science over the last two centuries has led to a large gap of missing research on wood as a construction material. The intuitive know-how of carpenters and our professional predecessors has been lost since the profession of Ingénieur des Ponts et Chaussées developed in the 18th century. Nowadays, the structural engineer does not use wood as a building material, holding it to be a priori less effective than steel or concrete.

My dual profile as an architect and structural engineer allows me to focus on the interdisciplinary aspects of building design and to thereby develop synergies. Having conducted pioneering research work in both structural design and construction, the way I look at certain phenomena differs considerably from the perspective of most theoreticians and practitioners who only specialize in one of these two areas. Since I am an active practitioner, researcher, and teacher, I am able to convey to the students, in equal measure, the values claimed by architects, such as subjectivity and aesthetics, and comprehensive structural and technical knowledge. My research work concentrates on technical, constructional, material, and structural aspects that – with few exceptions since the time of Leonardo da Vinci – have been greatly neglected or delegated away by architects in their search to realize their aesthetic aspirations. The work takes account of myriad fundamental links between art and science as well as the specific constraints of observed phenomena and their physical realization. The implications of scale are often simply ignored in the field of structural analysis for building construction. My approach perceives the mechanical requirements of form/structure as attributes that can only gain full meaning and sense within the framework of the geometrically scaled phenomenon upon which they depend. I regard the use of digital visualization in architecture as an invaluable tool that exists to strengthen the integration of structure, form, and material within our concept of design It cannot, however, replace the study of physical reality, which is indeed of critical importance when we are concerned with designing form and space, and with these a structure.