Undergraduate and graduate programmes offered by the University iuav of Venice:

Sketches for the Future – Werner Sobek


research // design // construction


2nd July 2009 to 16th October 2009



The exhibition focuses on the convergence between architecture and construction, which is an increasingly important consideration in the field of structural design.  With his involvement in a range of diverse activities in this area, Werner Sobek is considered to be one of the most important players on the international scene. As a “research, design and construction engineer”, Werner Sobek has attracted attention not only through his collaboration with renowned architects, to produce designs that are often nothing short of spectacular, but also as a result of the successful projects and highly regarded buildings which bear his name as an independent architect. He is director of ILEK (the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design), he lectures in Stuttgart and is Mies van der Rohe Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology.




Exhibitions held as part of the Architecture in the Ringturm series have repeatedly focused on areas which at first glance only loosely belong to the field of architecture: whether it was a question of presenting the viewpoints of renowned artists, under the title Artistic Spaces, or looking at furnishings as a part of the complete building, in an area which verges on design in the exhibition Furniture for everyone –  a widening of the scope of what is understood by the term architecture meant that a close relationship between these subjects and architecture per se could always be demonstrated.




Werner Sobek



The name Werner Sobek is known worldwide as representative of engineering, design and sustainability. His group has offices in Stuttgart, Dubai, Frankfurt, Cairo, Khartoum, Moscow and New York. Work produced by his firm is characterised by first-class design on the basis of excellent engineering and clever concepts for minimising energy and material usage.



The company was founded in 1992, has more than 200 employees, and works with all types of buildings and materials, with a specific focus on light construction, high-rise buildings, facade planning, special constructions made of steel, glass, titanium, fabric and wood, as well as the planning of sustainable buildings.



With his diverse range of activities, which could best be summarised as ‘research design and construction’, Werner Sobek is considered one of the world's most important players in this area. As a “research, design and construction engineer”, he has attracted attention not only through his collaboration with renowned architects – in the background and thus invisible to most laypeople    to produce designs that are often nothing short of spectacular, but also as a result of the successful projects and highly regarded buildings which bear his name as an independent architect.



Werner Sobek works with many important architects of our time, including Norman Foster, Meinhard von Gerkan and Volkwin Marg, Zaha Hadid, Hans Hollein, Christoph Ingenhoven, Helmut Jahn, Kisho Kurokawa and Dominique Perrault, on high-rise buildings, airports, office buildings and museums across the globe.



Werner Sobek and the Institut für Leichtbau Entwerfen und Konstruieren (ILEK) (Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design) at the University of Stuttgart



In its research and teaching approach, the Institut für Leichtbau Entwerfen und Konstruieren (ILEK) at the University of Stuttgart combines the drafting and designing aspects which are so dominant in architecture with the analytical and structural aspects which are at the centre of engineering, along with material sciences. On the basis of a goal-oriented and interdisciplinary approach, the Institute works on the development of designs for all types of construction and supporting structures, in all materials. In this vein, work fields span a wide area from building with textiles and glass to designing new structures made of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete.  From every individual detail to the entire structure, the emphasis is on optimising form and construction with regard to material and energy consumption, durability and reliability, recyclability and environmental compatibility. The results of this work are published in a summarised form as part of the Institute’s own series of publications (IL) in two languages (German/English), and are also published in the form of separate research reports on specific topics.



In 1994 Werner Sobek became the successor of Frei Otto and then also of Jörg Schlaich in 2001. In the past, both Chairs have significantly promoted the worldwide recognition of the University of Stuttgart in the field of light construction as well as in that of solid construction. Combining these two Chairs through the appointment of Werner Sobek in 2001, represents a symbolic act to combine two disciplines which have been moving away from each other for almost two hundred years – architecture and civil engineering – in one institute.



Balthasar Novak is the second professor at the institute. Research work in the area of light construction is coordinated by Dr. Walter Haase. Currently, the interdisciplinary team surrounding Werner Sobek at ILEK has 35 employees.



The exhibition provides the public with their first opportunity to gain extensive insights into the work of Werner Sobek’s interdisciplinary team at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK). Selected research projects and student research projects illustrate how ILEK is investigating and continuing to extend the limits of that which is currently possible.



The exhibition is designed to illustrate the research and design process at ILEK, where the two fields are very closely connected. To maintain an overview, the different fields of work and research have been assigned to four subject areas, even though it is, of course, neither possible nor desirable to make such a clear distinction between individual subjects. References are drawn between the items exhibited and issues from a number of very different areas are covered.



The exhibits presented provide insights into the multi-layered, experimental research and design process led by Werner Sobek - a process that always pursues the goal of building easy, sustainable and breathtakingly beautiful structures, regardless of whether dealing with issues relating to the physical construction of buildings or their supporting structures, spatial architectural design or computer-generated design.


The ILEK team works closely with different institutes and universities, holding joint workshops which span disciplines and countries. Partners in this respect include the Institut für Grundlagen moderner Architektur (IGMA - Institute for Modern Architecture and Design) at the University of Stuttgart, the Harvard School of Design, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago and the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart (Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design).



An accompanying publication "Sketches for the Future. Werner Sobek and the ILEK” will be published as Volume 19 of the Architecture in the Ringturm series.



Contributions by Werner Sobek; William Baker, Partner SOM, Chicago; Jürg Conzett, Chur; Prof. Gert Eilbracht, FH Spittal/Drau; Hans Hollein, Wien; Christoph Ingenhoven, Düsseldorf; Helmut Jahn, Chicago; Prof. Klaus Linkwitz, Stuttgart; Dominique Perrault, Paris; Marco Pogacnik, IUAV Venice; Lutz Sparrowitz, Prof. TU Graz; Adolph Stiller, Vienna






Concept: Gert Eilbracht, Adolph Stiller



Design: Christian Bergmann




Exhibition venue:


Exhibition Centre in the Ringturm

A-1010 Vienna, Schottenring 30


maggiori informazioni  >>



< torna alla pagina iniziale >