Werner Sobek is the Director of the Institute for Lightweight Structures & Conceptual Design (ILEK), University of Stuttgart in Germany, and founder of the Werner Sobek Group.
He studied architecture and structural engineering at the University of Stuttgart. As successor to architect Frei Otto and engineer Jörg Schlaich, Werner Sobek advocates a unique approach of bringing architects and engineers together, both during their training and in their professional activities.
The ILEK specializes on research into new materials and concepts for lightweight and adaptive structures. The Werner Sobek Group engages in innovative engineering combined with the design of constructional elements and sophisticated concepts for sustainable buildings.
Werner Sobek holds the Mies van der Rohe Chair at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, USA. He has also taught at Harvard University, University of Graz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Columbia University, the University of Hamburg, the University of Hannover, and the National University of Singapore.
Werner Sobek has received the DuPont Benedictus Award; European Gluelam Award; Fritz Schumacher Award; iF Design Award; SEAOI Structural Engineering Award; AIA awards of the American Institute of Architecture; Hugo Häring Award; Fazlur Rahman Khan Medal and the UIA’s Auguste Perret Prize. He was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit by the German Minister of Science, Research & Arts Theresia Bauer for his commitment to climate protection and sustainable building.
He is the former president of the Board of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen).
Werner Sobek was a member of the Holcim Awards Global jury 2012 and presented a keynote address and co-presented the workshop “Reduce CO2 – With technology to zero emissions” at the 3rd International Holcim Forum 2010 in Mexico City. He participated in the Concluding Debate at the 4th International Holcim Forum 2013 on “Economy of Sustainable Construction” held in Mumbai, India; and presented “We have to be more radical” at the inaugural Holcim Roundtable held at MIT Endicott House, Boston, USA in 2014.
Werner Sobek was a member of the Global Holcim Awards jury in 2018. He was a workshop moderator for “Changing paradigms: Materials for a world not yet built” at the 6th International Holcim Forum 2019 held in Cairo, Egypt