Zumtobel Group Award 2014 in the category Applied Innovations for Assistant Professorship Dirk E. Hebel

The international expert jury for the Zumtobel Group Award 2014 has rewarded  the Assistant Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel in the category Applied Innovations a second place for its research on Bamboo Composite Materials. The team around Felix Heisel, Mateusz Wielopolski, Alireza Javadian, Tobias Eberwein, and Karsten Schlesier works together with REHAU under the lead of Dragan Griebel on this innovative new building material. From the jury review: “At ETH Zürich, a team of researchers is tapping into bamboo’s potential by exploring new types of composite bamboo materials. Bamboo fiber is extracted and mixed with biological based adhesives. With the help of a hot press, a new material can be produced, which can have desired shape. It is water resistant, repellent to any insect or fungi attacks and the mechanical properties such as thermal extension or ductility can be controlled. It can be used for specific applications that best take advantage of the material’s tensile strength, such as reinforcement systems in concrete or beams for ceilings and roof structures.”

For more information, please click here.

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Future Cities Laboratory Exhibition at ETH Main Building curated by Assistant Professorship Dirk E. Hebel

The research community at FCL shows momentarily an exhibition at the ETH Hauptgebäude to engage in their most recent work and also present a retrospective view over the past four years. The Exhibition – entitled Research, Outcomes, and Prospects – showcases the context, findings, products, and methods of the diverse research projects undertaken in FCL. The Chair of Architecture and Construction (Marta H. Wisniewska, Felix Heisel and Prof. Dirk E. Hebel) has been responsible for the curation and design of the exhibition together with the FCL management and collaborated with Tobias Klauser (klauser-design.ch), who has realized and logistically organized the show over the past weeks and months in Zürich.

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Photos by Marta H. Wisniewska

Resilient Cities

Public lecture by Dirk E. Hebel in Zürich at the “Future Cities Laboratory Exhibition and Symposium” on September 26, 2014. Resilient cities are those that are able to master a crisis and which are able to exit the state of crisis stronger than before. The crisis can be a war, natural catastrophes, economic developments, or unprecedented growth, as it occurred in Europe and North America after the industrial revolution, and as it presently occurs in the cities North and South of the equator, where at present the majority of the world’s population lives. Resilient cities have the capacity to learn, to remember, and to transform findings of the past into strategies for the future. Sustainability is a basis for resilience. Resilient cities have a high degree of recycling and turn waste into new and useful materials. Resilient cities transform urban farming, energy generation, information sensing and processing into a lifestyle. Future new cities must be planned for resilience. Existing cities can be transformed to become more sustainable and resilient.

Architecture and Construction: Alternative Materials for the Building Sector

Public lecture by Dirk E. Hebel in Zürich at the “Future Cities Laboratory Exhibition and Symposium” on September 25, 2014. Cities are cultural centres and drivers of local and global economies. However, in their present form they are not sustainable in either ecological or social and economic terms. Rapid population growth, increased mobility and climate change has led to urban sprawl, air and water pollution and even social conflict. Against this backdrop, ETH Zurich was invited by Singapore’s national research fund in 2010 to launch a five-year research project in Asia. The result is the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) at the Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC). Now, an exhibition and symposium at the ETH main building presents the most important works from the research project. The 13 research modules present methods and results of interdisciplinary research at the intersection of architecture, urban development and planning, construction, material science, computer science and social sciences.

5000 Living Units for Addis Ababa

Public lecture by Dirk E. Hebel at ETH Zürich on September 16, 2014. The talk focuses on the development of different typologies for 5000 newly build 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. The work has 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 work will concentrate on locally available construction methods and materials and aims to develop architecture and construction strategies down to the scale of the detail.

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 as “Book of the month”

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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

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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)

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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

Collaborators:
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

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‘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

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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

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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

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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.