Rapid Architectural Prototyping Laboratory

Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich

Raplab – Rapid Architectural Prototyping Laboratory

The conversion from ideas to models is at the core of our everyday work as an educational competence center for model and prototyping building.  

The Raplab works on making the process from idea to model direct, intuitive, and elegant. We try to enable our students and researchers to work independently in our workshops and offer, for that reason, a comprehensive set of lectures, tutorials, introductions, and in-person classes for them. Conceptual thinking, methodology, and design are, in our labs, always connected through the practice of making.  

The dialog between making and the made object is a core question to discuss in our making practice. We discover systematically abstract relationships through actual work connected to models, materials, or design questions. The notion of craft is therefore understood as a broad collection of actions relating to material, construction, making, perception, expression, and design. While making, we strive for an equilibrium of all these aspects, and when teaching, we aspire to communicate the initial intent of the model as pure as possible.  

The Raplab offers an extensive workshop infrastructure for model and prototype building to realize any project. We offer many tools, studios, and competencies, from traditional craft to digital fabrication. We are a vital first contact point for students, researchers, and chairs within the architecture department to address questions about the material, making, fabrication and design.