Bamboo Reinforcement Could Help Developing Cities


Civil Engineering is the award-winning monthly magazine of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Reaching an audience of more than 140,000 civil engineers worldwide, this magazine has the largest circulation in the engineering market and provides a compelling editorial mix of engineering projects and trends, engineering science, business and professional strategies, exploration of key issues, and news. The Civil Engineering website provides weekly news and feature content that supplements the content of the monthly print and digital editions.

On July 8th, the magazine published a lengthly interview with Prof Dirk E. Hebel on his current material research at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore titled: Bamboo Reinforcement Could Help Developing Cities. Research on the use of a bamboo composite material in place of steel to strengthen concrete is producing positive results—and could help some developing countries urbanize.

Read the full article here.

Cities without High-Rises in FCL Magazine No. 2


The second issue of the FCL Magazine addresses the shifting character of contemporary cities, and examines what this has to say about the fortunes of future cities. Dirk E. Hebel and Felix Heisel contributed an article titled “Cities without High-Rises” in this recent publication, which can be found here.

ADDIS 2050 is a so-called ‘synergy project’ at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. It combines the collective activities and collaborations within FCL and African partners over the last few years in Ethiopia, especially in its capital Addis Ababa. The title ADDIS 2050 is derived from an international conference in November 2012, where FCL, together with our partner, the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development EiABC, developed a vision for the city of Addis Ababa as well as the Ethiopian nation state at large. The research work conducted could be classified in three different scales applying similar tools and methodologies: UNIT, CITY and NATION. The UNIT scale deals with the question of construction materials and methods.

Ethiopia will be confronted with a population increase of 45 million people over the next 15 years, along with increased
demand for basic needs like food, water, safety, and shelter. Given this challenge, the project asks for appropriate modes of 21st century urbanisation, rather than relying on out-dated models from the developed world or following luxury trends from the Arabian peninsula. The CITY scale discusses the future development of the city of Addis Ababa. Here, questions of urban design, infrastructure, production, and invention are
on the foreground of investigation, while the NATION scale focuses mostly on future energy concepts for Ethiopia at large.

The article at hand deals with the medium scale and future development of Ethiopia’s capital. It is an attempt to show alternative possibilities towards the dominating argument for high-rise buildings in Addis Ababa.

CoReSing’s material research nominated for top five of Zumtobel Group Award


“The Zumtobel Group Award that we have curated for the past eight years is not a static object but an evolutionary process. Just as, under the influence of the respective times, the jury helped drive forward future developments through their decision, responding as they did so to social and technological demands and changes, we, as the curators have joined with the initiator of the award to take it forward by adding the “Applied Innovations” category. The large number of submissions, not least in this new category, and the intense debate within the jury only serve to underline the increasing relevance of the interplay between human beings and technology,” said Kristin Feireiss and Hans-Jürgen Commerell, Founders of Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin (DE) and curators of the award.

The new APPLIED INNOVATIONS category, rewards innovations and technological solutions that make a trailblazing contribution to the realisation of a more sustainable built environment. The award in this category addresses technical universities, research institutions, individual engineers and firms of consulting engineers, as well as technology start-ups. Submissions could include innovations that have been proven in a prototype, a test series or an application in an actual project. From among 50 submissions in this category, the jury has nominated five offices and projects, including CoReSing’s material research on bamboo composite materials for the building industry.

Mor information can be found here.

CoReSing exhibits bamboo research at World Cities Summit


CoReSing exhibited its Advanced Fibre Composite Materials at this years World Cities Summit in Singapore from June 2nd to 4th at the Swiss Pavilion. The World Cities Summit is a premier event that brings together practitioners and policy makers with leading experts in their field to identify innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges facing cities today. It is an international conference series on public governance and the sustainable development of cities.

Bamboo: A Viable Alternative to Steel Reinforcement?

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Architectural Blog archdaily reported recently on the ongoing research of CoReSing’s bamboo composite materials for the building industry.

“Developing countries have the highest demand for steel-reinforced concrete, but often do not have the means to produce the steel to meet that demand.  Rather than put themselves at the mercy of a global market dominated by developed countries, Singapore’s Future Cities Laboratory suggests an alternative to this manufactured rarity: bamboo.  Abundant, sustainable, and extremely resilient, bamboo has potential in the future to become an ideal replacement in places where steel cannot easily be produced.”

The full article can be found here.

CoReSing designs the Swiss Pavilion at the World Cities Summit in Singapore 2014


Swissnex and the Future Cities Laboratory commissioned the Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel of FCL Singapore (CoReSing) to design the Swiss Pavilion at the World Cities Summit 2014. Creaholic, The Water Network and FCL’s Robotic Tiling, 3for2x, MATSim Singapore and BaReCo will be exhibitted in the structure from June 2 – 4 at booth L1-T12.

The unifying theme for WCS 2014, “Liveable and Sustainable – Common Challenges, Shared Solutions” will build on the discussions at WCS Mayors Forum 2013, where cities will look at the state of urban challenges today and identify principles of shared solutions applicable to cities spanning the range of development, socio-economic and political contexts. The theme will unify all elements of the programme and stimulate ideas and discussion towards the objective of finding practical, implementable solutions as an outcome of the summit of leaders.

CNN article on alternative building materials quotes Dirk E. Hebel

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Kieron Monks asks in his recent article on CNN Innovations “Would you live in a house of sand and bacteria? It’s a surpassingly good idea”. The article gives an overview on recent developments in the field of alternative building materials and quotes Prof Dirk E. Hebel referring to mushroom bricks that “I could imagine every structure you would built out of bricks. No high-rises, but smaller scale structures and houses. The material is stronger than concrete, with better insulation capacities”. Read the full article here.

Impulse Magazine features Felix Heisel


Impulse, the magazine for the German-speaking community in Singapore, recently published a short article on Felix Heisel in their issue “German Researchers in Singapore”. It describes his motivation to work in Singapore as well as his research in urban design and construction materials. The issue is available online here.

Research in Teaching


The Chair of Architecture and Construction will soon move back to Zürich to continue researching there and to start teaching a design course in the master’s programs – an exciting new task that the members are very much looking forward to. How can years of intensive research be translated into an academic approach? Marta H. Wisniewska writes about this challenge as the team aims to craft an inspiring course for their future students, and use it at the same time as another method to continue their current work. For the full article, please click here.

Vertical Networking

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The CREATE Tower in Singapore sets the scene for vertical networking among its various entities. This kind of setting fosters interactions between the institutions on many levels, informally as well as professionally. Marta H. Wisniewska sees this as a strength. For the full article, please click here.

CoReSing exhibiting at InnovFest 2014


CoReSing exhibits its BaReCo Bamboo Reinforcement Research at this year’s InnovFest on 14-16 April.

InnovFest convenes leading thought-leaders, groundbreaking companies and emerging technologies to provide a holistic and comprehensive glimpse of the innovation & enterprise landscape in Asia. Focusing on “Asian Innovations Going Global” InnovFest 2014 will showcase cutting-edge research & expertise from regional universities, start-ups and industry players.

_Spaces at the World Urban Forum


The documentary movie series _Spaces by Felix Heisel and Bisrat Kifle is currently being screened at the World Urban Forum, Urban Equity in Development – Cities for Life in Medellin Colombia. The movies can be watched at Booth 82 (Ethiopia) from the 5th – 11th of April.

Alternatively, the movies can also be watched online at

We built this city…from Waste


What we throw away may be a valuable renewable resource for building materials. Marta H. Wisniewska explains the future destiny of refuse in her newest blog entry for the ETH Intranet. For the full article, please click here.

New team members joining CoReSing

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New team members Johannes Budde, Tobias Eberwein and Kristel Guzman recently joined the Chair of Architecture and Construction and the Advanced Fiber Composite Laboratory in Singapore. Johannes and Kristel are both architects and involved in the planning of several upcoming exhibitions of CoReSing and the Future Cities Laboratory. Tobias is a wood technician from the FH Rosenheim and currently helping in the research on natural fiber composite materials.

SUDU featured in Goethe Institute Exhibition

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The Goethe Institute Addis Ababa opened a new exhibition last week featuring several prototypologies from the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC) and the ETH Zurich, Future Cities Laboratory Singapore, Professorship Dirk E. Hebel. Displayed in models, plans and images, SUDU, SICU, SECU and SAMU propose alternatives for the provision of housing in Addis Ababa. The Sustainable Urban Dwelling Unit (SUDU), proposes a dense, two- or even three-story structure in a row house typology . The idea is to offer inhabitants a possibility to construct their own houses without waiting for government programs or private/public developers. Furthermore, when constructed over a period of time, depending on the financial resources of its residents, smaller units like SUDU activate private capital for the housing sector. The exhibition was organised by Prof. Dirk Donath and Eva Hartmann.