15 Biennale di Venezia. Beyond Bending
The exhibition, placed inside the Corderie dell'Arsenale, is grounded in the fundamental notion that designers have an important responsibility towards preserving architectural and historical heritage, nature’s resources and human life.
Curated by ETH Zurich’s Block Research Group led by Prof. Philippe Block and Tom Van Mele.
Throughout history, master builders have discovered expressive forms through the constraints of economy, efficiency and elegance. Inspired by historical design and construction methods, ETH Zurich’s Block Research Group led by Prof. Philippe Block and Tom Van Mele renews the knowledge of the past using present-day technologies to discover elegant new structural forms.
Their exhibition, Beyond Bending, a collaborative effort with the engineering firm Ochsendorf, DeJong & Block (ODB) and The Escobedo Group, asks, “What can we regain from the past, and how can we reshape or innovate upon that knowledge to fit present and future needs?” The exhibition’s various elements – four prototypes of vaulted floor systems, a series of graphical force diagrams, and an expansive stone vault – demonstrate that, by better understanding the flow of compressive forces in three dimensions, excess steel can be eliminated, natural resources can be conserved, and humble materials like earth and stone can be reimagined for the future.