In 1994 Werner Sobek assumed the chair of Frei Otto, and in 2001 added that of Prof. Dres. Jörg Schlaich. Both professors contributed fundamentally to the worldwide reputation of the University of Stuttgart and advanced its high level of recognition both for lightweight and concrete structures.
By merging both chairs in a symbolic act in 2001, Werner Sobek reunited two disciplines, architecture and engineering, which have been increasingly separated over the last two centuries. In 2008, Werner Sobek additionally accepted a call to become Mies van der Rohe Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago.
Balthasar Novák works as an Associate Professor at the ILEK. Research studies in the field of lightweight structures are coordinated by Dr. Walter Haase.
Part of the ILEK (Pfaffenwaldring 14) is housed in the famous tent structure, originally erected as a prototype to test the construction and assembly procedure of the German Pavilion for the World Expo 1967 in Montreal. Today, the building is widely regarded as an icon of modern architecture.