PENS-201 / 4 credits

Teacher(s): Guaita Patricia, Baur Raffael, Corres Sojo Enrique, Fernandez-Ordoñez Hernandez David Carlos

Language: English

Withdrawal: It is not allowed to withdraw from this subject after the registration deadline.


This ENAC week provides students with the opportunity to apply theoretical structural principles in an applied context through the collaborative design of textile reinforced concrete shells that test structural and material limits. The ENAC week will take place in the Blue Factory at EPFL Fribourg.



technological and social innovation, sustainable construction, knowledge transfer, pedagogy of making

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Design a structural element / system in textile reinforced concrete
  • Construct an innovative formwork system
  • Dimension a structural element in textile reinforced concrete
  • Test structural and material limits

Transversal skills

  • Negotiate effectively within the group.
  • Resolve conflicts in ways that are productive for the task and the people concerned.
  • Continue to work through difficulties or initial failure to find optimal solutions.
  • Demonstrate a capacity for creativity.
  • Take feedback (critique) and respond in an appropriate manner.

Teaching methods

Working at 1:1 scale will require students to use drawing, model, calculation and collaborative investigations to design prototypes, details and a successful scheme. Testing sessions throughout the week and the students' documentation of this testing, will push designs to failure and lead to a reconsideration and redesign of the proposal.  


Expected student activities


1.       Lélé (Argamassa Armada): (1 hour lecture). This exchange will introduce Semaine ENAC students to the research being conducted in the Argamassa Armada Unité d'Enseignement. It will include a short introduction to the work of Lélé and the system of reinforced concrete that he developed in Brazil.   

2.       Fabrication (6, 4-hour collaborative blocks). Students will work in interdisciplinary teams to develop a concrete form-work that pushes material limits. The module will be introduced at the beginning of the week with students working each day to design and fabricate a proposal. 

We will provide an interdisciplinary framework for the workshop that opens paths for future questioning. They are essential to the success of the week and provide a context and spirit for the investigation.

The 1:1 fabrication will occupy the largest part of the students’ time and energy: in bringing together students from the different ENAC sections, this opportunity to design, calculate and build a 1:1 structure offers a unique chance to directly experience ways of thinking, working together, and making. The human exchanges engendered by the project could test the disciplinary boundaries that sometimes prevent students from exploring -- on both a personal and intellectual level – the other sections within the school. The 1:1 fabrication also confronts students with the power of scientific discovery through the observation of nature; forces, materials, behavior and failure become a direct vehicle for learning.

Assessment methods


Ongoing evaluation; students will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  • ability to work in drawing and 1:1 construction;
  • capacity to use testing as a means of advancing an architectural and structural idea;
  • collaboration (communication, team work, flexibility within different roles);
  • engagement (participation, initiative, responsibility)



Others The faculty team will be with the students on a continual basis throughout the workshop period.



Selected Readings

Cruz Prieto, Fabio.  De l'observation¿, Vina del mar: Inéditos, 1993.

De Oliveira, Olivia. L'architecture brésilienne sous les projecteurs. L'ARCHITECTURE D'AUJOURD'HUI 396 72-77.

Ekerman, Sergio Kopinski. L'œuvre multiforme de Lelé. L'ARCHITECTURE D'AUJOURD'HUI 396 64-71.

Farias, Bruno Fialho ; Netsch, Stefan. Die Methode Lele. BAUWELT 5.14 26-31.

Kaltenbach, Frank. From tradition to Tourist Attraction  Prefabrication in the Timber Construction of the Dong People. DETAIL 6/2012 594-598

Kulas, C. Actual applications and potential textile-reinforced concrete. Solidian GmbH, Germany ,GRC 2015.

Segawa, Hugo ; Lima Guimaraes, Ana Gabriela. Lelé : le créateur, le constructor, le contexte . LE VISITEUR 14 / 2009 68-84

Serapião, Fernando. Fragments of a Lover's Discourse  Brazilian Architecture and Reinforced Concrete. DETAIL 6/2014 546-554.

Olmos, Susana Acosta ; Cordiviola, Chango ; Ekerman, Sergio Kopinski. L'humain au cœur de la fabrique architectural. L'ARCHITECTURE D'AUJOURD HUI 396 52-63.

Schittich, Christian. Prefabrication- High- Tech and Manual Production.

DETAIL 6/2012 588-598

Wilson, Colin St. John. The sacred buildings and the sacred sites.OASE 45-46 / 1997  64-87.



In the programs

  • Semester: Spring
  • Exam form: During the semester (summer session)
  • Subject examined: Making structural logic
  • Lecture: 4 Hour(s)
  • Exercises: 22 Hour(s)
  • Project: 22 Hour(s)

Reference week