International fib Symposium on Conceptual Design of Structures 2021 | Challenging gravity

International fib Symposium on Conceptual Design of Structures 2021 | Alejandro Bernabeu, Paul Gauvreau, and Knut Stockhusen – moderated by Leonardo Todisco| Debate & dialogue: Challenging gravity


The conceptual design of structures is at the heart of the design process and when the most fundamental and influential decisions are taken for a project. It merges experience, intuition, tradition, site constraints, technical solutions and, above all, the genius and sensitivity of the designers.

The International fib Symposium on Conceptual Design of Structures 2021 took place in September 16-18 2021 at Attisholz (Switzerland) and online. The aim of the Symposium was to generate a fruitful exchange event for academics and practitioners from engineering, architecture and other disciplines on the topic of the conceptual design of structures. The focus was placed on experiences made particularly during the design process. The discussions reflected how a project emerges, how design decisions are taken, how responsibilities are distributed, how obstacles and constraints are handled, how fundamental design principles are applied and the way the individual members of the design team collaborate.

The International fib Symposium on Conceptual Design of Structures 2021 was jointly organized by the Laboratory for Structural Concrete Engineering at EPFL Lausanne (Prof. Aurelio Muttoni) and the Chair of Structural Design at ETH Zurich (Prof. Joseph Schwartz) in collaboration with the fib (International Federation for Structural Concrete). The event continued a series of symposia opened by fib and whose first edition was held in Madrid in 2019.


The fib, Fédération internationale du béton, is a not-for-profit association formed by 41 national member groups in 104 countries and approximately 1000 corporate and individual members. The fib’s mission is to develop at an international level the study of scientific and practical matters capable of advancing the technical, economic, aesthetic and environmental performance of concrete construction.

The knowledge developed and shared by the fib (fib Bulletins, fib events, fib workshops, fib courses, etc.) is entirely the result of the volunteer work provided by the fib members.

The fib was formed in 1998 by the merger of the Euro-International Committee for Concrete (the CEB) and the International Federation for Pre-stressing (the FIP). These predecessor organizations existed independently since 1953 and 1952, respectively.

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