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Mr Klaas De Rycke
The Bartlett School of Architecture
22 Gordon Street
Mr Klaas De Rycke profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • The Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Faculty of the Built Environment

I joined B+G, an innovative structural and facade engineering firm, in november 2003. I worked for several years in our Frankfurt based main office until I became a project manager.  From 2005 onwards, I relocated to Paris for B+G to assist Dominique Perrault Architects on the Mariinskiy Theatre project in St. Petersburg. In 2007 I setup B+G Paris and acquired one of our first French projects the “Musée du Louvre Lens” by Sanaa. The office has currently 48 permanent collaborators. I continued establishing other offices in Brussels in 2015 (19 permanent staff), Nantes and Shanghai in 2020. As a partner and COO for the global holding B+G, I overview collaboration between offices, setting up new offices, content orientation, research and communication between offices and with external parties, etc. Starting from January 1st2022 we will have 18 offices worldwide with around 400 collaborators. One of my latest initiatives to improve knowledge exchange was to set up an internal façade academy which deploys 12 internal and external teachers and 15 students for 18 months. My professional activity has brought me in touch with some of the greatest architects and let me work on highly complex and cutting-edge projects. Collaborations include architects such as Wolf Prix, Sanaa, OMA, Lacaton Vassal, Gilles Perraudin, Dominique Perrault, Xaveer de Geyter, Office KGDVS, Bruther, Tomas Saraceno, Solano Benitez, Diller Scofidio, etc. The works include small and large scale projects, very different materials, different programs (art pieces, towers, schools, theaters, etc). I found that we are specifically called by clients forour added value as design engineers, our extensive knowledge, ground breaking solutions and innovative approach. Our attitude has led to extensive support by the state. Not only have I gained a large spectrum of knowledge but I have built an extensive network of makers, artists, engineers and architects. It is myfirm belief that we get forward by sharing knowledge, in my case my professional experience. Hence my active role in teaching and publishing. Through my publications on my work and research, I have shown leadership in contributing to media and the policy debates. For my efforts in the field of architecture and art I received the distinction of “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” from the French ministry of culture. The sharing of my experience is further exemplified in my under taking and coordination of several workshop soutside of the university context. Through my work and experience, Ihave been invited as a speaker, an international expert and a peer reviewer forconferences and publications, member of expert panels and professional and academic organisations

Research Summary

The following will list some of the topics I have initiated or co-initiated and for which -in part- research or R&D funding was received. 1-research in computational design and fabrication: Expressed through the proceedings of the international symposium DMS that I organised in Versailles in 2017, several symposia accompanying my yearly digital fabrication workshop in Versailles and conferences and scientific papers showing my personal involvement in developing and using digital tools for fabrication. Currently, I have successfully launched a call for and I am the main supervisor for a Phd research on  the use of Machine Learning to optimise carbon footprint of non-standard structural solutions. The Phd is funded by the French state (ANR) and my company B+G. 2-research on the material, its use,its history and manufacturing of timber: This treats mainly the field of digital fabrication and conception. Current research in this field is based on digitally manufactured massive timber structures based on historical construction patterns such as reciprocal frames, Philibert de l’Ormes arches and others. Concurrently we are developing new joint systems for bamboo structures. Both researches have been published in different peer reviewed conferences or publications. 3-teaching of structures andmaterials: current teaching methods for engineers and architects should evolvewith time. I have organised seminars and roundtable discussions on this topic . As a research, in parallel with 8 other universities in France we have been awarded 2,0 Mio Euros to establish a new series of experiential and digital courses on natural materials . In preparation, we have successfully produced with students a 7mspanning natural stone bridge.

4- Experimental construction methods and natural materials for the use in architecture: Several of my projects use innovative approaches to use  natural materials for which often we need to find new calculation methods. Currently ongoing research includes a vault made of on-site extracted and compacted earth in partfunded by the “region du Nord”, France. Others include testing of cardboardtubes as structural material for a tower of 100m, nubian vaults, large façade panels in composite materials made by boat builders, new structural glazing techniques, modular building systems,structural 3D printing for individual housing, structural glazing, etc. The projects concerned are professional ones: a prestressed stone stair in NewYork, a natural stone 7 storey high building with Gilles Perraudin, a 3Dprinted 3000sqm building in France, a 20m scaffolding in structural glazing,etc but appear also in my teaching; 3D printed 4m high concrete columns,concrete canvas structures with Madame Architects, 50 “webs” made and calculated by students together with Tomas Saraceno, etc. 5-Numerical wind analysis for high rise structure and comfort: This is ongoing research with the team of JC Quinton and was exhibited in 2018 (see CV)Twoprojects with fundamental research receive direct funding: an industry driven Phd and the project RESSOURCES. In the interest of my research I have organized several seminars and international conferences about digital fabrication in the school of Versailles with most notably the Design Modelling Symposium 2017.

Teaching Summary

From 2008 to 2011, I have worked as an assistant professorfor the department of Architecture and Structural Development at the University of Ghent, Belgium. Since 2011, I was appointed as a permanent senior lecturer and researcher in the field of innovative engineering at the Architecture School of Versailles, France (ENSA-V). I am teaching structural, environmental and façade science and have –and am- leading different design units. One of the design units entails a double degree diploma with Tongji university and acts asa research unit on digital urbanism in collaboration with the post-master program Space Syntax of Prof. Varoudis at the Bartlett. Since 2017 I am a member of the research lab in Versailles. Since 2014 I am a member of the board of directors of the school. As a permanent staff member and with my interest for innovative structures, I animated multiple grand scale 1 to 1 experiments on structures. I also initiated and set up the new fablab of 400 sqm within the premises of the school. As a senior teaching fellow in the M-Eng program at BSA since 2017 I am also holding a series of lectures and follow a design unit. For my efforts in the field of architecture and art as a teacher and researcher and as the head of Bollinger + Grohmann I received the distinction of “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” from the French ministry of culture. As a project manager I am responsible for the structural and façade design of national and international projects in concrete, steel, wood, glass, brick, fibres and other innovative materials. As a project manager and general director of the office I supervise design teams through out all stages from competitions to construction administration. Besides familiarity with local and international codes I have an extensive knowledge in the design of geometrically complex free-form structures in combination with challenging façade systems. Multiple buildings where I had the chance to work on, received international acclaim through exhibitions and publications in several languages and were granted distinctions. I have had the honor to work with some Pritzker prize architects on these projects (Renzo Piano, Zaha Hadid, Sanaa, RemKoolhaas). Through out the last 15 years I have held multiple international lectures and conferences in a variety of fields covering own work, research and explorative engineering. I am currently a permanent member of the IASS (international association for space and shell structures) and am a session chair for the next conference in Surrey. I have organized conferences and symposiums such as the 2017 Design Modelling Symposium in Versailles. I was in the scientific committee ofthe last DMS in 2019 in Berlin.

2022 « Industrial advisory board » Civil Engineering and Architecture (msc-arch) University of Ghent, Belgium
2019 Researcher   The Bartlett School of Architecture, United Kingdom
2017 Teaching Fellow   The Bartlett School of Architecture, United Kingdom
2017 Member of LéaV – Research Laboratory   École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles, France
2017 Member of the group of work Fablab   École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles, France
2017 Member of the International Commission   École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles, France
2016 member of the Board of Directors   École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles, France
2013 – 2013 Visiting professor   LOCI, Tournai, Belgium
2012 – 2016 Member of School concil   École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles, France
2011 Permanent senior Lecturer STA École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles, France
2011 – 2012 Assistant Professor and Lecturer   École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles, France
2008 – 2011 Assistant Professor for double degree Architect - Engineer Vakgroep Architectuur en Stedenbouw UGent (Ghent University), Belgium
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