FCL Exhibition and Symposium ‘Research, Outcomes and Prospects’

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The research community at FCL would like to invite you to an Exhibition and Symposium to engage in their most recent work. The Exhibition and Symposium – entitled Research, Outcomes, and Prospects – will showcase the context, findings, products, and methods of the diverse research projects undertaken in FCL.

The Exhibition and Symposium programme will begin with the Exhibition opening in the ETH Zurich’s Hauptgebaude on the evening of Wednesday 24 September. The Symposium will be held on Thursday 25 September, and will feature short summary presentations of each research project within FCL in the morning session, and a series of thematic discussions on the challenges of contemporary urbanisation, sustainability, and future cities in the afternoon. The thematic discussions will continue on Friday 26 September, and will offer representatives of local agencies, industry partners and peers an opportunity to discuss specific research themes, insights and applications in greater detail.

The Future Cities Laboratory Exhibition ‘Research, Outcomes and Prospects’ is curated by the Assistant Professorship Dirk E. Hebel stay on display until 9th November 2014.
For a detailed program, please visit the FCL Homepage directly.

Building from Waste selected book of the month


Dirk E. Hebel  / Marta H. Wisniewska / Felix Heisel
Building from Waste
Recovered Materials in Architecture and Construction

The book provides a conceptual and practical look into materials and products which use waste as a renewable resource for architectural, interior, and industrial design. The inventory ranges from marketed products to advanced research and development, organized along the manufacturing processes: densified, reconfigured, transformed, designed and cultivated materials. A product directory presents all materials and projects according to their functional uses.

Take a look inside the book here.

Marta H. Wisniewska and Alireza Javadian at the World Sustainable Building Conference 2014


At this year’s World Sustainable Building Conference in Barcelona WSBC2014, the Chair of Architecture and Construction is presenting two papers on its recent research. Marta H. Wisniewska is speaking on “Waste – a Resource for Sustainable and Resilient future Cities” on 29th October between 3pm and 4:30pm in Session 90: “Construction systems and materials”. Alireza Javadian is presenting “Bamboo Reinforcement – A Carbon Alternative to Steel” on 29th October between 10am and 11:30am in Session 48: “Resources and Waste”. For the Conference program, please visit here.

5000 Housing Units for Addis Ababa

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Design Studio with integrated discipline (Building Structure)

Architectural Design V-IX

The studio focuses on the development of different typologies for 5000 housing units in Addis Ababa. The city administration of Ethiopia’s capital commissioned the chair with this task. Already in 2015, these units for no- and low-income families, which are being displaced due to on-going redevelopment strategies, shall be constructed within the inner-city context based on the students’ design proposals. The typologies have to take the existing social and cultural conditions into consideration and, where possible, utilize local materials. Additionally, they need to remain within a given budget set by the city administration. Next to the more obvious urban questions, the studio will concentrate on locally available construction methods and materials and aims to develop architecture and construction strategies down to the scale of the detail.

The studio is taught with integrated disciplines in construction and building structures in collaboration with the Professorship Philippe Block.

In principal, the teaching language is German. Selected lectures and one consultancy group will be held in English.

The professorship also offers a seminar week trip to Addis Ababa. Enrolment is not required but highly recommended.

Asst. Prof. Dirk E. Hebel
Patrick Chladek, Felix Heisel, Hans Rufer, Gian Salis, Marta H. Wisniewska
Fall 2014 – Start: 16.09.2014, 10 am, HIQ C1

Birat Kifle, Zegeye Cherenet, and Fasil Giorghis, EiABC Addis Ababa; Sascha Delz, ETHZ; Karsten Schlesier, GUTech Oman

For students: Please use the ETH Einschreibung to register and for more details.

Seminar Week Fall Semester 2014: Addis Ababa/Lalibela

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“I weary of writing more about these buildings, because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more … I swear by God, in Whose power I am, that all I have written is the truth.”
Francisco Alvarez`s description of his first sight of Lalibela, in: The Prester John of the Indies translated by C.F. Beckingham and G.W.B. Huntingford (Cambridge: Hakluyt Society 1961), p. 226.

In the fall semester 2014, the Chair of Architecture and Construction offers a seminar week trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The week will concentrate on the development of new, resilient and alternative housing strategies for one of the fastest growing cities in the Global South. Here, a link is given to the design studio which investigates new typologies for 5000 new housing units to be built in 2015, a comission given by the city administration. Next to visits in different existing housing typologies and neighborhoods, the group will also investigate and experience how local available materials need to change our design strategies. In the second half of the week, trips either to the rural area south of Addis Ababa or Lalibela will be organized (fo the Lalibela trip, extra costs will apply).

Dates: Saturday, October 18, till Sunday, October 26

Cost Category: E

For students: Please use the ETH Einschreibung to register and for more details.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports on Bamboo Composite Material research

NZZ Bambus statt stahl

‘Bambus statt Stahl’ (Bamboo instead of Steel) has been published in Switzerland’s leading daily newspaper ‘Neue Zürcher Zeitung’ on Sunday 27th July. The article offers an overview on the recent developments of the Assistant Professorship Dirk E. Hebel in its bamboo composite material research and led to a wide public interest in Switzerland and Europe. The full article can be accessed here.

UN Habitat – Urban Gateway on bamboo research


Very few developing countries have the resources to produce their own steel, and without this material tall buildings and urban development are all but impossible. But what if there were a local, renewable material that could be used instead of steel in reinforced-concrete buildings? And what if that substitute could be manufactured easily? These questions have motivated Dirk Hebel, an assistant professor of architecture and construction at the Future Cities Laboratory, in Singapore, to investigate a bamboo fiber composite as a possible substitute for steel reinforcement in concrete. The Future Cities Laboratory is a research arm of ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule) Zürich, in Switzerland, and is the first program under the newly formed Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability, which conducts multidisciplinary research to foster urbanization that conforms to the principles of sustainable development. If the tests on the bamboo composite are successful, developing countries will be able to manufacture and build their own urban centers without costly foreign steel imports, according to Hebel.

Read the full article here.

Bambus statt Stahl – Radio Interview on WDR5 Leonardo

On July 31st, German Radio WDR5 reported on the chair’s bamboo composite research at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. Above you can listen to the short interview with Prof. Dirk E. Hebel in German.

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.