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 purely 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.



The primary mission that the Raplab as a centralized organizational unit within the department of architecture has can be summarized by the following points:

Planning and coordination

Planning opening hours, introductions, maintenance cycles, and safety reviews. Consulting for the department, ETH organizations, and other stakeholders on strategic projects to develop sustainable organizational concepts with the best workplace safety and education practices.


Introductions, tutorials, classes, and workshops to develop basic foundational knowledge in our student body on how to use the Raplab and, more specifically, how to use models and prototypes for testing and the design of their projects.
The Raplab offers regular Seminar Weeks and an Elective Class – Model and Design, as part of our teaching activities open to all students interested in working and exploring new materials, processes, and model-related design methods.

Workshop development

Current technologies, new processes, machines, new materials, and future-proof strategic development of the workshop environment with a particular focus on flexible tactics to accommodate the needs of our ever-changing faculty.


Development of standards and guidelines for the safe operation of tools and machines in teaching settings.


We are educating chairs and students on how to approach design questions, project management, and strategic development of aspects related to making.


Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly processes to ensure smooth operation and preservation of the value of our infrastructure.

Key Data


  • 750 – 800 active users (students) per year
  • Total area: 750m2
  • 80+ machines


  • 150 – 200 active users (students) per year
  • Total area: 100m2
  • 10+ machines


    • Safety introductions for 300+ students per year
    • Model workshop introductions for 300+ students per year
    • Pouring workshop introductions for 300+ students per year
    • Digital workshop introductions for 200+ students per year
    • On-demand introductions to any workshop for MA, MAS, and Ph.D.


    • Two seminar weeks with specialized topics related to prototype and model building
    • Elective class model and design (FS and HS) for 16 students
    • Lectures on material, craft, and making
    • 1-2 international workshops and summer schools
    • Consultation for student projects during opening hours


    • Consultation for chair projects concerning materials, tools, and teaching methods for making workshops and classes.