Prof. Rad treks to Switzerland to lead digital design and fabrication summer course

Participants join in a group photo to celebrate the completion of their course. Prof. Aryan Rezaei Rad appears at far right. (Photo provided)

CivMin’s Prof. Aryan Rezaei Rad recently trekked to Lausanne, Switzerland to contribute to a trans-disciplinary, inter-institutional collaboration.

Utilizing his expertise in the field of timber engineering and digital fabrication, Prof. Rad and a team of architectural and civil engineering experts from École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) designed a postgraduate course on advanced timber structures and digital design. The objective was to equip participants with cutting-edge knowledge and skills in computer-aided design and digital fabrication technology.

Prof. Aryan Rezaei Rad (Photo provided)

From June 23 to July 1, 2023, EPFL’s main campus bustled with activity as the four-day, in-person module took place at the Laboratory of Timber Construction (IBOIS). Led by Dr. Nicolas Rogeau, Dr. Petras Vestartas and Prof. Yves Weinand from EPFL, and CivMin’s Prof. Rad, participants were exposed to the latest design techniques and digital fabrication methodologies, covering everything from digital design to CNC fabrication and robotic assembly of structural elements.

Working at a 1:1 scale, participants were able to apply their newfound knowledge in practical and innovative ways. Prof. Rad played a pivotal role in instructing participants on digital structural design, utilizing open-source computational platforms, implementing computer-aided engineering for digitally-fabricated structures, and exploring the realm of Form-Force-Material optimization.

With a blend of online and in-person modules, the course attracted a diverse cohort of participants, consisting of a timber manufacturer, two professional architects, three professional civil engineers, and one civil engineering graduate alumnus aiming to offer an immersive and transformative experience for all involved.

(L to R) Students working on Timber Assembly, 5-axis CNC Digital Fabrication, Robotic Assembly of Timber Linear Elements
COMPAS RRC. (Photos provided)

The course on advanced timber structures and digital design has further solidified the trans-disciplinary, inter-institutional collaboration for pushing the boundaries of architectural and engineering education. With Prof. Rad from U of T and the esteemed team of instructors from EPFL leading the way, participants have gained invaluable skills and insights into the evolving field of timber construction, “We continue to foster innovation and provide professionals with the tools they need to create sustainable, efficient, and resilient structures with digital fabrication technology,” says Rad.

Rad recalls, “Lausanne experienced mostly sunny weather during the course, and EPFL’s beautiful surroundings provided the perfect environment for learning and networking while enjoying the great view of the Alps.”

By Phill Snel