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Dr. Yu Zhang

Yu Zhang is a current Ph.D. student at the Engineering Design and Computing Lab at ETH Zurich and is currently working with NCCR project 3A.3 with a focus on modular local brick fabrication and assembly. Yu obtained her master’s degree at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2017, where she developed her skill in structural optimization and robust optimization. Yu joined Multi-disciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) team at Disney Research China in 2017 as a research associate and then entered ETH Zurich in 2018 for her Ph.D. Yu’s main interest includes the rigorous exploration of optimization and computer-aided design and digital fabrication across different scales.

Work Topic

This work package investigates onsite fabrication of bricks from local materials. To date, a small-scale prototype, consisting of 512 blocks, was built at ETH and an onsite compressed earth brick press was tested with industry partners ARUP London and Gianni Botsford Architects.

Role in the NCCR Digital Fabrication

PhD Researcher


Low-cost and sustainable compressed earth block dwellings


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