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Top Science Award for Alireza Javadian

Alireza award

Aliriza Javadian, PhD student in the Hebel Research Group at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, wins top distinguished award in the 2015 Singapore Challenge: The Science of Future Cities for his research on Advanced Fiber Composite Materials. The Singapore Scientific Challenge 2015 is jointly organised by A*STAR, NUS, NTU, SMU and SUTD as part of A*STAR’s Science@50 initiative to mark a half-century of excellent science in Singapore on her 50th birthday. It seeks to promote engagements and collaborations amongst the wider scientific community and to raise the level of scientific thought leadership in Singapore.

World Architecture Festival 2015, Singapore


Two public lectures by Asst. Prof. Dirk E. Hebel at the occasion of the World Architecture Festival in Singapore on November 04 and November 05 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. From the organizers: “World Architecture Festival is the world’s largest international architectural event. It includes the biggest architectural awards programme in the world, dedicated to celebrating excellence via live presentations to delegates and international juries. This year’s programme 50:50 will examine how architecture and urbanism have changed during the last 50 years, how predictions have been fulfilled or denied, and how we think will change in the next 50 years.”

Sand – ein Baumaterial mit Zukunft?


Public lecture by Asst. Prof. Dirk E. Hebel at the occasion of the exhibition “Wie Sand am Meer”, ERES-Stiftung München, on October 08, 2015. “Der Rohstoff Sand scheint unerschöpflich. Doch verschlingen heute vor allem Stahlbetonbauten der Megacities, Straßenbau und Landgewinnung solche Mengen, dass Bausand zur knappen Ressource wird. Durch die wachsende Nachfrage lohnt es sich inzwischen, Sand zu stehlen und zu schmuggeln. Insbesondere in Entwicklungsländern wird unkontrolliert abgebaut, Strände werden abgetragen, Flüsse geschürft und Meeresböden ausgebaggert. Engagiert und kenntnisreich geht die Münchner Künstlerin Stefanie Zoche verschiedensten Facetten dieses Themas nach. In eindringlichen Bildern und überraschender Formensprache formuliert sie die Gedankenlosigkeit und Widersprüchlichkeit unseres Umgangs mit der kostbaren Ressource Sand. Ein Großteil der gezeigten Skulpturen, Installationen und Videoarbeiten sind im Auftrag der ERES-Stiftung entstanden. Mit dem Projekt setzt die Stiftung ihren Ausstellungszyklus zum Thema Anthropozän fort und lenkt den Blick auf einen bislang wenig beachteten Aspekt des menschlichen Eingriffs in Geo- und Biosphäre.” (Bild und Text: Stephanie Zoche)

focusTerra – lecture series


Public lecture by Asst. Professor Dirk E. Hebel, September 23, 2015, 6pm. “Mineralische Rohstoffe bilden die Grundlage unseres täglichen Lebens. Ihre Verfügbarkeit ist für uns selbstverständlich, und der weltweite Verbrauch nimmt stetig zu. Was sind die langfristigen Folgen unserer zunehmenden Nutzung nicht erneuerbarer Rohstoffe? Welche Herausforderungen kommen auf uns zu?”

World Bamboo Congress


Keynote speech by Asst. Prof. Dirk E. Hebel at the World Bamboo Congress in South Korea on September 20th, 2015. From the organizers: “In the last 20 years, the WBC as a series of Sessions & Demonstrations has grown to attract participants from more than 30 countries around the world, including world-renowned experts in bamboo design, construction, and architecture. For any professional that works with this amazing natural resource — whether a botanist, biologist, horticulturist, architect, artist, designer, businessperson, government representative, non-profit organization, or economist, the WBC has been an ideal opportunity to meet and develop collaborations in research and development, project or business development, while at the same time, advancing the social and environmental goals derived from the various applications of bamboo.”

World Sustainability Forum


Public lecture by Asst. Prof Dirk E. Hebel at the fifth World Sustainability Forum in Basel, Switzerland on September 7th, 2015. From the organizers: “The 5th World Sustainability Forum aims to be a platform for researchers to present and engage with research-relevant stakeholders on issues relating to sustainability. We seek to contribute to policy-relevant, change-oriented, and transdisciplinary research and collaboration from science and technology, the life sciences, and the social sciences.”

ETH Winter School 2016 – Application open

Winter School Jan16

The E4D winter school 2016 aims to develop an integrated vision to a global challenge of today’s construction industry. The programme revolves around the so-far untapped resource desert sand and the question of how to activate its potential as an alternative building material for future cities. Invited experts from around the world will share their knowledge and give insights in their field of research. Participants will not only learn the theoretic background of this resource but experiment with current and future technologies to transform desert sand. Through three workshops (i) bio-cementation, (ii) sintering and (iii) 3D printing, the acquired knowledge will be tested and applied.

The E4D Winter School 2016 is organised in collaboration with ETH Global and the TU Berlin Campus in El Gouna, Egypt.

Further information and detailed program can be found here. Applicants please follow this link.

Sand, Bamboo and Waste research exhibited at BodenSchätzeWerte


On August 24, focusTerra opened its new exhibition entitled “BodenSchätzeWerte” or Earth’s Treasures at the ETH Zurich NO Building. Focusing on the past and future’s use of our earth’s resources, the exhibition also features several research topics of the Assistant Professorship for Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel.

From the curator:
Mineral resources play a fundamental role in our daily lives. We take their availability for granted and their worldwide consumption is steadily on the rise. What are the long-term consequences of our increasing use of non-renewable resources? What challenges lie ahead for us?

This exhibition is about the formation, mining and use of mineral resources, and how we deal with products we no longer need. What can we do to ensure that resources are extracted in an economical, environmentally friendly and socially responsible way and that they are used and reused for as long and as efficiently as possible?

The exhibition will be on display from 25th August 2015 until 28th February 2016.
More information can be found here.

Fall Semester 2015: Village School Project Cambodia

In the Fall Semester 2015, the design studio of Asst. Prof. Dirk E. Hebel will be planning a school in rural Cambodia within an existing village structure, about two hours north of the capital Phnom Penh. The school consists of several classrooms, a cafeteria, an auditorium as well as medical and infrastructural buildings.

For further information please visit here.
To inscribe into the design studio, please click here (ETH intranet).

Spring Semester 2015 – Resource Switzerland

On 26th May 2015 the Final Presentations took place in the Assistant Professorship Dirk E. Hebel’s Design Studio. Guest critiques, including Bijoy Jain, Jürgen Mayer H, Steven Spier, Stefan Hörner and Philippe Block joined for the full day event and shared their valuable expertise.

In the Spring Semester 2015 the students were introduced to a broad number of Swiss resources. In collaboration with professional craftsmen they investigated the architectonic potential of specific building materials. Context, material and constructive principles followed a clear causality and ended in the design of an atelier or a different spatial arrangement of a similar scale, for the respective craftsman. On the basis of a built 1:1 extract we finally test the validity of the project.

It is the declared aim of the course to teach responsibility in the use of material resources and for the hereof deviated principles of construction. Decisions of design should not only result from aesthetic points of view, but bring up questions regarding availability of materials, skills, talents, responsibility for sustainable resources, functionality and respect for social and cultural settings and the traditional comprehension of handicraft, joining principles and production technologies.

Photo credits: Assistant Professorship Dirk E. Hebel/ Wojciech Zawarski

Waste Vault – ETH Zürich Pavilion

Watch the ETH Zurich Pavilion being built.

Welcome to Philippe, Davide and Simon

New team members

The Assistant Professorship Dirk E. Hebel welcomes its new team members for the Fall Semester 2015: Philippe Jorisch is joining the teaching team at the ETH Zürich in Switzerland, Davide Fracasso and Simon Lee will be researching at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore.

Team Switzerland


CNN: FCL Singapore developes ideas to steal from


Future Cities: Singapore focuses on the exceptionally forward-looking urban approach of the island nation to learn about the challenges of planning for future generations.

(CNN) Singapore is small, hot and heavily populated — the 5.5 million residents of the tropical city-state live in less than 750 square kilometres of land. And population is expected to reach 6.9 million by 2030. Despite these challenges, Singapore continues to be amongst the most liveable and economically successful cities in the word, with a GDP equaling that of leading European countries. With more than 50% of the world’s population living in cities already (a figure projected to reach 70% by 2050), Singapore — where everyone is a city dweller — is setting trends for rapidly urbanizing countries worldwide. …

With high-density living comes high-density waste. But Singapore has been organized with its refuse management systems, not only by collecting it efficiently but even employing it to make more land. “They don’t have the space to store waste,” says Dirk Hebel, from the Future Cities Laboratory at the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability. …

Due to its close proximity to the equator, Singapore’s climate is hot and humid, with temperatures averaging above 30 degrees Celsius and little variation throughout the year. The built-up nature of the city increases temperatures further through the ‘heat island’ effect — caused by buildings blocking air flow, transport emissions and long-wave radiation heating up the island nation. As a result, a lot of the city’s energy expenditure goes towards cooling people down. “Up to 60% of Singapore’s electricity is for buildings,” says Arno Schlüter, Professor of Architecture and building systems, also with the Future Cities Laboratory. Most buildings use electricity to cool-down and dehumidify public and work spaces. “Singapore is a noisy city due to all the [cooling] units on the wall,” says Schlüter.

“In the Future, There Will Be No Waste …”


Full House on May 30th at the ETH Zurich Pavilion in New York, as it hosted a public panel discussion with Asst. Prof. Dirk E. Hebel, Prof. Philippe Block, Asst. Prof. David Benjamin and Asst. Prof. Mark Wasiuta. The panel, hosted by the AIA Center for Architecture New York Chapter, brought an overwhelming response to the pavilion.

The IDEAS CITY Festival theme for 2015, The Invisible City, borrows from Italo Calvino’s classic novel exploring the invisible constructs that holds a city together. Two panels pursued this theme further by asking “What cultural practices define the future smart city, and where can we chart the boundaries between design methodology and ethical practice?” The first panel explored how material cycles and waste management can be further integrated into design practice. The second panel asked “How invisible ecologies can be represented and made visible and urgent?”

Meet the Future – a tour through the ETH Zurich Pavilion


On May 30th, Felix Heisel gave a public guided tour through the ETH Zurich Pavilion, and the connected exhibit of 25 building materials produced from waste.

ETH Alumni Meeting at ETH Zurich Pavilion

Panel_ETH Alumni

Daniel E. Schaufelberger, Werner Kaufmann, Lorenzo Pagnamenta, Anna Torriani, Ray Schaeffer, Felix Heisel, and Jürg Brunnschweiler

Entitled The invisible Feedback Loop: Architects, Infrastructure, and Public Space, the ETH Zurich Alumni invited its New York members to a panel discussion on Thursday 28th May at the ETH Zurich Pavilion. Architects, and Urban Planners are in constant dialogue with the evolving  needs and expectations of public space. Moderated by Dr. Werner Kaufmann, Co-Chair ETHZ Alumni New York Chapter, the speakers Felix Heisel, Anna Torriani, Lorenzo Pagnamenta, and Ray Schaeffer briefly described their contribution to the civic realm, their investigations, their ideas, the results and/or proposed solutions. The event was opened by Dr. Jürg Brunnschweiler, Director ETH Global, Zürich.

ETH Zurich Pavilion now open for the public

ETH Zurich Pavilion: New York NY, Image (c) Albert Vecerka/Esto ETH Zurich Pavilion: New York NY, Image (c) Albert Vecerka/Esto

On May 27th, the ETH Zurich Pavilion was officially opened by Ambassador André Schaller, Consul General of Switzerland in New York, Juerg Brunnschweiler, Director of ETH Global, and Felix Heisel, project architect of the ETH Zurich Pavilion. The Pavilion will now be open to the public from May 28-30, 11am to 10pm daily. Please come by and join us for the exciting program.

Building from Waste: swissnex San Francisco highlights

In April 2015 swissnex San Francisco together with Chair of Architecture and Construction at ETH Zurich organized a one week event called ‘Building From Waste’. During this time everyone interested in the issues of rethinking the use of waste could participate in a series of presentations, a panel discussion, a hands-on workshop and an exhibition.

ETH Zurich Pavilion – Construction Day 3


On the eve of Construction Day 3, the first shell of the ETH Zurich Pavilion is closed and lighting experiments are taking advantage of the dusk.

ETH Zurich Pavilion – Construction Day 2


Construction Day 2 of the ETH Zurich Pavilion concluded with the first few ReWall arches go up and span over the First Street Green. Stay tuned!

ETH Zurich Pavilion – Construction Day 1


On May 22nd, construction of the ETH Zurich Pavilion started at the First Street Green in New York City. The stacking of the recycled pallets was concluded with the installation of the parametric triangular footings for arches made from reused beverage cartons. Within the next 3 days, the team from the Assistant Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel and the Block Research Group will conclude a 90 m2 pavilion in time for the IDEAS CITY Festival starting on Thursday 28th May 2015.

Official IDEAS CITY Program out now!


ETH Zurich brings a cutting-edge artifact of the future to the East Village: a pavilion created from waste materials. Recasting “trash” as a valuable asset, ETH Zurich Future Garden and Pavilion will redefine the notion of waste, acknowledging its value as a resource from which new cities can rise. Read more about the events of next week here.

“In the future, there will be no waste…”


May 30th, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
First Street Garden, Houston Street and 2nd Avenue, ETH Zurich Pavilion, New York City

The American Institute of Architects NY engage ETH Zurich’s Dirk E. Hebel and Philippe Block in a conversation with NY architects David Benjamin and Mark Wasiuta, Columbia University on cultural practices that define smart cities. The panel discussion will be held underneath the ETH Zurich pavilion and is part of the IDEAS CITY Festival program.

Register free here

Prefabrication of ETH Zurich Pavilion is advancing quickly

Bildschirmfoto 2015-05-13 um 16.27.19

At the ETH PopUp Workshop in New York, our team is advancing quickly with the prefabrication of parts for the ETH Zurich Pavilion across the street. If you would like to take a look at the current status, we have installed a life feed, allowing you a view of the workshop and the park. Please click here.

IDEAS CITY Festival: ETH Pop-Up Workshop Open Now!


ETH Popup Workshop + Gallery
34 E 1st Street

During the month of May, ETH Zurich’s Assistant Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel and the Block Research Group together with miLES will transform the storefront at 34 E. 1st Street into a pop-up workshop and gallery for the prefabrication of the ETH Zurich Pavilion across the street at First Street Green Park. The storefront will become a workshop, showcase, and resting stop to visualize the working process behind the construction of a temporary structure by the ETH Department of Architecture. Peek into it, you may find surprises!



Public lecture by Dirk E. Hebel at the architect@work event in Zürich, Switzerland. This international exhibition and symposium event takes place in ten different European countrys every year. The 2015 event in Zürich is the third of its kind in Switzerland. Special desigened exhibition layouts allow to place innovative ideas in architecture, construction and design at the forefront of discussion and exchange. Dirk E. Hebel will speak about the latest research outcomes of the team`s material and construction laboratories in Zürich and Singapore.

ETH Zurich Pavilion at the IDEAS CITY Festival in New York


Commissioned by ETH Global, the Assistant Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel and the Professorship of Architecture and Structure Philippe Block will be building a pavilion at New York City’s First Street Garden as part of the New Museum’s IDEAS CITY festival, May 28 – 30th, 2015.

Using waste products as construction material, the structure aims to redefine our perception of refuse, acknowledging its capacity as a substance from which to construct new cities. Waste was seen for centuries as something specific which neither belonged to the family of natural resources nor to the one of finished products. Waste was a by-product, an (ideally) invisible part in the making and existing of our cities.

But waste could also be understood as an integral part of what we define as a resource. This metabolic thinking understands our built environment as an interim stage of material storage. The ETH Pavilion will be an example of this approach using a common waste product: beverage cartons as its construction material. The expressive pavilion is designed to allow the use of a non-standard, weak material in construction.To keep the stresses in the material low, the shape follows the flow of forces, resulting in a vaulted structure in compression. Thanks to its overall double curvature and the triangular sections of the arches, which give the structure a deeper section for the same thickness and weight, the shell is stable and safe.

Underneath and within this structure, ETH Global will curate a program following the theme of the pavilion. The exhibition ‘Building from Waste’ displays over 25 construction materials derived from waste, activating resources within our cities that have remained invisible until now. A covered area for about 30-40 people will provide space for invited guests from ETH Zurich and its partners to organize lectures and seminars for the general public. A bar will offer a variety of catering services throughout the duration of the festival.

Download detailed description of the ETH Zurich Pavilion (PDF, 4.5 MB).

Rural Housing research project in Ethiopia enters its final phase with a stakeholders forum


On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, a stakeholders forum in Butajira city to place to present and discuss further steps of the Rural Housing research project, a combined research project of EiABC and ETH Professorship Dirk E. Hebel, with representatives of Guraghe Zone Administration, City Government, Bete Guraghe Cultural Center, colleagues from Wolkite University and Wolkite Polytechnic College and other stakeholder.

In his opening speech, EiABC Scientific Director Joachim Dieter explained the role and importance of housing research for the development of the rural areas and the meaning of experimental and applied research in full scale for the education of Architects, Construction Manager and Urban Planner at the Institute.

Project Manager Melekeselam Moges and his team explained in their presentation the achievements of the SRDU project, the current state of research on the continuation project, improvements in it’s design and technical aspects as building materials and construction methods, while possible collaborations and partnerships with local authorities, University and Polytechnic, communities and NGO have been evaluated.

All topics of the presentation had been commented and discussed with the invited guests to reach maximum acceptance and learn from previous valuable experiences.

This research project is supported and facilitated by Switzerland’s Arthur Waser Foundation, the ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and ETH-Global.

The team of EiABC included both wings of the management, academic and administrative, and was represented by Scientific Director Joachim Dieter, Managing Director Dr. Beatrice Delpouve, Project Manager Melakeselam Moges and his team, Chairholder Imam Mahmoud – Chair of Housing, Head of Finance Shimeles Habtamu, and the Head of International Relations, Mr. Agus Prianto. The event was concluded with a visit of the future project site.

Design workshop at SWISSNEX San Francisco

Can design reduce waste production? How can small adjustments in the typical life cycle of everyday products drastically minimize waste flow? The search for the answers to those and other refuse-related questions were the goals of this year’s ‘Constructing from Waste’ workshop in San Francisco led by Marta H. Wisniewska and Felix Heisel. Participants with different background and experience, including students, school teachers, architects and product designers, worked on eight different proposals. Andreas Müller of Birkhäuser, publisher of the Building from Waste book, awarded the best three proposals with recent publications.

The Constructing Waste: Upcycling and Rethinking Trash workshop was organized in cooperation with Mary Ellyn Johnson of swissnex SF in the frame of a one week long event at swissnex San Francisco promoting the Building from Waste book, which has just entered the US market.

For more information click here.

Photo credits: swissnex SF/ Mayleen Hollero

`Building from Waste` exhibition at SWISSNEX San Francisco

The exhibition Building from Waste: Material Showcase accompanied the Building from Waste book promotion week, which took place at swissnex San Francisco between April 20 – 25, 2015

The Asst. Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel brought the Building from Waste: Material Showcase to swissnex San Francisco, items of loan from the Baubibliothek of the ETH-Bibliothek. Visitors had a chance to experience over 20 alternative construction materials produced from waste. The exhibited materials cover a wide range of building elements made from straw or PET bottles, fibers extracted from old newspapers, juice and milk containers, denim jeans, and many more. Additionally the exhibition included an extended display of mycelium lightweight products in different moments of growth produced by local artist and inventor Phill Ross of Mycoworks.

For more information click here.

Photo credits: swissnex SF/ Mayleen Hollero

Waste Not: `Building from Waste` panel discussion at SWISSNEX San Francisco

Waste Not Panel Discussion at swissnex San Francisco on April 21, 2015 started a week-long event organized by Mary Ellyn Johnson and the swissnex SF team around the launch of the Building from Waste book for the US market.

Future resilient cities will be constructed out of their own refuse. This hypothesis was the spark for the book, Building from Waste: Recovered Materials in Architecture and Construction by Dirk E. Hebel, Marta H. Wisniewska and Felix Heisel from ETH Zurich and the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore.

Felix Heisel and Marta H. Wisniewska gave a conceptual and practical look at materials and products that use waste as a renewable resource during their presentation and panel discussion at swissnex San Francisco. From the local experts, Philip Ross (Mycoworks), Thom Foulders (Foulders Studio) and Peter Ratto (Recology), the guests could hear how mushrooms can be a viable building material, how experiments in architecture are incorporating unique products focused on sustainability and renewal, and how San Francisco’s Recology is working towards zero waste for the city by 2020.

For more information click here.

Photo credits: swissnex SF/ Mayleen Hollero

Spring semester 2015 seminar week on local building materials in Switzerland


As part of the ongoing spring semester “Ressource Schweiz”, the Assistant Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel organised a seminar week touring Switzerland with 50 participants. Visiting architects and their buildings using local available building materials such as loam, wood, or stone, the group also went to the original resource sites in clay pits or quarries and visited companies and craftsmen working with the substances.

Photo by Marta H. Wisniewska

There are no open positions available momentarily.

Waste not: Exploring Alternative Building Materials

Bildschirmfoto 2015-03-24 um 12.42.00

Marta H. Wisniewska and Felix Heisel will be leading several events from 21st – 25th of April at Swissnex San Fransisco in order to promote the recent publication “Building from Waste” in the United States. For detailed information on the events please see here and register your attendance through the swissnex website:

21.04.2015  – 6:30 pm: Lecture Series “Waste Not”
with Philip Ross, Thom Faulders, Marta H. Wisniewska and Felix Heisel

21.04. – 25.04.2015: “Building from Waste” Exhibit with 25 construction products made from refuse

25.04.2015 – 9:00 am: Constructing Waste: Upcycling and Rethinking Trash
Workshop with Marta H. Wisniewska and Felix Heisel

Engineering for Development (E4D) round table discussion


Moderated by Dr. Barbara Becker and hosted by ETH Global on March 23rd 2015, Sarah Springman, Samih Sawiris and Dirk E. Hebel discussed the challenges and opportunities of Engineering for Development (E4D), a program of the Sawiris foundation and the ETH Zürich to promote the development of products and methods which are directly relevant for improving the livelihoods of people in developing territories.

The Bamboo Revival: Green Structures


Article published at Sourceable: Bamboo is one of the world’s oldest structural materials and has been used in construction for centuries. Now new research could potentially bolster its continued resurgence and use as a material in green structures. Steel-reinforced concrete is the most common building material in the world. Developing countries use close to 90 per cent of the cement and 80 per cent of the steel consumed by the global construction sector. According to research by the chair of architecture and construction at Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) in the Singapore-ETH Centre, 70 per cent of damage in the built environment today is caused by corrosion of steel inside reinforced concrete structures. In addition, steel is also costly and energy hungry when it comes to production and transportation. Read more here.

Bamboo: The Green Reinforcement

alireza javadian green reinforcement

Doctoral Researcher Alireza Javadian of the Assistant Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel spoke on February 13th 2015 as part of the “Friday Talks” at the Urban Redevelopment Authority Singapore (URA) on “Bamboo: The Green Reinforcement”. His talk introduced the audience to the research of new bamboo composite materials, featuring high tensile capacity with a variety of different application possibilities.

More on the Friday Talk Series can be found here.

Bambus statt Beton


Bislang sind Häuser und Brücken aus Bambus Einzelfälle. Forscher von der ETH Zürich wollen jetzt aus dem Süßgrasgewächs einen ökologischen und günstigen Massenbaustoff für die Städte von morgen entwickeln. Ein Beitrag von Oliver Ristau im Technology Review Magazin für Innovation. (article in German only)

Spring Semester 2015 – Ressource Schweiz


Es ist das erklärte Ziel des Entwurfsstudios im Frühjahr 2015, Studierenden eine Verantwortung für den Einsatz von Materialressourcen und den daraus abgeleiteten Konstruktionsprinzipien zu vermitteln. Entwurfsentscheidungen sollen nicht aus rein ästhetischen Gründen getroffen werden, sondern Fragen aufwerfen nach der Verfügbarkeit von Materialien und Talenten, der Verantwortung eines nachhaltiges Ressourceneinsatzes, der Funktionalität und der Achtung von sozialen und kulturellen Eigenheiten und dem traditionellen Verständnis von Handwerk, Fügungsprinzipien und Verarbeitungstechniken. Die Studierenden werden ihren Entwurf diesen lokalen Bedingungen durch Feldforschung in Zusammenarbeit mit lokal ansässigen Handwerkern/Künstlern durchführen und auf Erkenntnisse mit angemessenen und würdigen architektonischen Strategien reagieren. Es ist das Ziel, Bauweisen und Details zu entwickeln, die in der Schweiz verfügbare Fähigkeiten sowie Materialien integrieren und diese in ein architektonisch und konstruktiv schlüssiges Konzept umsetzen. Ort, Material und konstruktive Prinzipien folgen einer klaren Kausalität und münden in den Entwurf eines Ateliers für die jeweiligen Handwerker.

Eine Seminarwoche zu diesem Thema wird interessierten Studierenden angeboten. Die Teilnahme wird empfohlen, ist aber nicht zwingend.

Die erstellten Entwürfe beinhalten materialspezifische, architektonische sowie konstruktive Untersuchungen, Zeichnungen und Modelle. Darüber hinaus werden 1:1 Ausschnitte des Entwurfs gemeinsam mit den entsprechenden Handwerkern erarbeitet und ausgestellt.

Die Professur bietet den Entwurf mit der integrierten Disziplin Konstruktion an. Ebenfalls bietet die Professur Philippe Block die integrierte Disziplin Tragkonstruktion an.

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Fakultät für Architektur
Institut Entwerfen und Bautechnik

Fachgebiet Nachhaltiges Bauen
Englerstr. 11, Geb. 11.40, Raum 25
D-76131 Karlsruhe
Recent Publications:  

    Urban Mining and Recycling in TEC21

    January 8, 2018

    Knüsel, Paul (2017). Ein Meister darf Normen brechen, TEC21 51-52(Gebäudetechnik-Kongress: Können Planer alles?): 20–25.


    Reservoir Building: Towards an Idea of Abundant Pertinence

    September 20, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E. (2017). Reservoir Building: Towards an Idea of Abundant Pertinence, in Embodied Energy and Design: Making Architecture Between Metrics and Narratives, ed. David Benjamin, 107–116. New York, N.Y, USA and Zürich, Switzerland: Columbia University GSAPP, Lars Müller Publishers.


    Beyond Mining – Urban Growth: The Architectural Innovation of Cultivated Resources through Appropriate Engineering

    September 10, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E., Philippe Block, Felix Heisel and Tomas Mendez Echenagucia (2017). Beyond Mining – Urban Growth: The Architectural Innovation of Cultivated Resources through Appropriate Engineering, in IMMINENT COMMONS: THE EXPANDED CITY, 116–127. Seoul, South Korea: Actar Publishers, Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017.


    Alternative Baumaterialien

    August 9, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E., Felix Heisel and Aurel von Richthofen (2017). Alternative Baumaterialien, in BodenSchätzeWerte: Unser Umgang mit Rohstoffen, focusTerra, ed. focusTerra, 214–217. Zürich, Switzerland: vdf Hochschulverlag.


    Building from Waste – the Waste Vault

    August 8, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E., Marta H. Wisniewska and Felix Heisel (2017). Building from Waste – the Waste Vault, in IMMINENT COMMONS: Urban Questions for the Near Future, eds. Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Hyungmin Pai, and urbanNext. Seoul, South Korea: Actar Publishers, Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017.


    Shifting Paradigms: From Excavation to Cultivation

    August 8, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E., Nikita Aigner, Dustin Fleck, Felix Heisel, Alireza Javadian, Simon Lee, Philipp Müller, Aurel von Richthofen, Karsten Schlesier and Marta H. Wisniewska (2017). Shifting Paradigms: From Excavation to Cultivation, in Future Cities Laboratory: Indicia 01, 191–199. Singapore-ETH Centre, Signapore: Lars Müller Publishers.


    Circular Economy Pedagogical Methods

    June 13, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E., Patrick Chladek, Amelie Fibicher, Felix Heisel, Philippe Jorisch, Hans-Christian Rufer and Marta H. Wisniewska (2017). Circular Economy Pedagogical Methods, by Professor Dirk Hebel,: in The Re-Use Atlas: A Designer’s Guide towards a Circular Economy, ed. Duncan Baker-Brown, 110–113. London, UK: RIBA Publishing.


    Cultivated Building Materials: Industrialized Natural Resources for Architecture and Construction

    June 12, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E. and Felix Heisel (2017). Cultivated Building Materials: Industrialized Natural Resources for Architecture and Construction. Birkhäuser: Berlin.

    The 21st century will face a radical paradigm change in how we produce construction materials – a shift towards cultivating, breeding, raising, farming, or growing future resources. The book presents innovative cultivated building materials, like cement grown by bacteria or bamboo fibers as reinforcement for concrete. The book aims to build a bridge from scientific research to product development and application.


    Die Zukunft ist aus Bambus

    June 11, 2017

    Reimann, Milena (2017). Die Zukunft ist aus Bambus. Rheinische Post: Düsseldorf.

    Aus dem holzähnlichen Gras werden immer mehr Produkte gefertigt – vom Fahrrad übers Kleid bis zum Toilettenpapier. Jetzt wollen Forscher sogar moderne Häuser aus dem Werkstoff bauen. … Auch Dirk Hebel ist begeistert von dem Rohstoff. Er ist Architekturprofessor mit dem Schwerpunkt “Nachhaltiges Bauen” am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie. Statt wie bisher Häuser aus Stein und Stahl zu errichten, wollen er und sein Team Gebäude aus gepressten Bambusfasern bauen. More information here.


    Wie Sand am Meer?

    June 1, 2017

    Hellge, Anna (2017). Wie Sand Am Meer?, in: natur (07/17): 44 – 49.

    Nicht nur Wüstensand aus Mauretanien macht beim Bauen oder im Küstenschutz Probleme. Dirk Hebel, Professor für nachhaltiges Bauen an der Uni­versität Karlsruhe, erklärt das Phänomen: ,,Zwar ist Sand genau die Zutat, die der Beton benötigt – aber Sand aus der Wüste eignet sich nicht zur herkömmli­chen Betonproduktion.” Stattdessen sind dafür Sän­de aus Meeren, Seen oder Flüssen nötig. Der Grund dafür liegt im Detail: ,,Sie müssen sich diese Sande nur einmal unter der Lupe anschauen”, sagt Hebel. „Sie werden feststellen, dass die Körner, welche durch Bäche und Flüsse in unsere Meere getragen wurden, scharfkantig und gebrochen sind.” Nur die­se kantigen Körnchen können durch hohe Reibungs­widerstände Druckkräfte aufnehmen und weiterlei­ten und machen -salopp gesagt -Beton überhaupt erst belastbar. In der Wüste schmirgeln sich die Sandkörner dagegen glatt und sind zur Betonherstel­lung so nicht brauchbar. ,,Wüstensand verhält sich wie eine Hand voll Murmeln”, erklärt Hebel.


    ADDIS 5000 – Design Studio Publication

    May 12, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E., Patrick Chladek, Amelie Fibicher, Philippe Jorisch, Felix Heisel, Sophie Nash, Hans Rufer, Gian Salis, Marta H. Wisniewska (2017). ADDIS 5000, Design Studio Publication Fall 2014, 01/05, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

    Addis 5000 proposes the creation of 5000 new living units in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa in close collaboration with the city administration. Faced with an increasing unavailability of globally-favoured and expensive building materials and construction methods, the city government is in desperate need of alternative housing solutions that embody the country’s long and complex history, the immense cultural identity, and the unique characteristics of a society under transformation.


    Ressource Schweiz – Design Studio Publication

    May 12, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E., Patrick Chladek, Amelie Fibicher, Philippe Jorisch, Felix Heisel, Sophie Nash, Hans Rufer, Gian Salis, Marta H. Wisniewska (2017). Ressource Schweiz, Design Studio Publication Spring 2015, 02/05, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

    Ressource Schweiz applies the fundamental principle of exploring local possibilities and opportunities within the territory of Switzerland. Students are partnered with a Swiss craftsperson specializing in a distinct craft utilizing a unique local building material. Intensive visits to the craftsperson and associated region are required to gain an understanding of the material’s application and manufacture as well as to establish a dialogue between the craftsperson, the site, the material and the student.


    Village School Project Cambodia – Design Studio Publication

    May 12, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E., Patrick Chladek, Amelie Fibicher, Philippe Jorisch, Felix Heisel, Sophie Nash, Hans Rufer, Gian Salis, Marta H. Wisniewska (2017). Village School Project Cambodia, Design Studio Publication Fall 2015, 03/05, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

    Village School Project Cambodia operates within one of the most crucial fields of sustainable action: the education sector in developing territories. Based on a thorough understanding of an appropriate pedagogical model developed in collaboration with the Pedagogical University of Applied Science in Zürich, students are asked to design an educational facility for 1000 students in a rural area, just north of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.


    Building for Disassembly – Design Studio Publication

    May 12, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E., Patrick Chladek, Amelie Fibicher, Philippe Jorisch, Felix Heisel, Sophie Nash, Hans Rufer, Gian Salis, Marta H. Wisniewska (2017). Building for Disassembly, Design Studio Publication Spring 2016, 04/05, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

    Building for Disassembly, aims to produce a paradigm shift within the construction industry. Instead of working within a linear system of “produce-use-discard”, students are asked to develop new construction methods and principles which follow the concept of a circular economy. Designing for disassembly is perceived as a proactive solution to both the shortage of resources and the minimization of waste. Cities can therefore be simultaneously consumers and suppliers of resources and use themselves for their own reproduction.


    Living Lab Zakynthos – Design Studio Publication

    May 12, 2017

    Hebel, Dirk E., Patrick Chladek, Amelie Fibicher, Philippe Jorisch, Felix Heisel, Sophie Nash, Hans Rufer, Gian Salis, Marta H. Wisniewska (2017). Living Lab Zakynthos, Design Studio Publication Fall 2016, 05/05, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

    Living Lab Zakynthos asks the students the most obvious and yet most difficult question operating in the field of sustainable construction: how to define their own and individual hypothesis of the theme. Seeking clarity in this definition, students are asked to design a hotel complex on the west coast of the Greek island of Zakynthos, on a site sloping down towards the Ionic Sea.


    Neformálnosť v knihe i krajine

    April 3, 2017

    Czafík, Michal (2017). Neformálnosť v knihe i krajine, ARCH Magazine 1-2/2017(Architektúra a bývanie): 59–60.

    Book Review of Lessons of Informality in Slovakian Magazine ARCH:
    Who would I recommend the book to? All who have the desire to indirectly find their way into life in a country that is still covered with a riddle of mystery. Urban designer, architect, sociologist, cultural scientist, anthropologist … I could continue to name myself. This confirms only one fact, that architecture has long been not only a mono-, but a multidisciplinary issue.

    We say thank you!


    Fantastic materials – and where to find them

    March 7, 2017

    Buxton, Pamella (2017). Fantastic Materials – and Where to Find Them, RIBA Journal Magazine.

    Scientists are developing super materials from some most unlikely beginnings. Could spider silk ever be a useful (human) building material? How about transparent wood, ‘printed’ sandstone, or a bio-plastic derived from crabs hells? These and plenty more seemingly fantastical notions will be explored from February at The Building Centre’s SuperMaterial exhibition. (…) Architect Dirk Hebel has developed a new material made from bamboo fibres and resin that could be used to replace steel rebar.


    Pull-Out Test for Bamboo Composite Reinforcement at the Advanced Fibre Composite Laboratory

    January 18, 2017

    Bildschirmfoto 2017-01-18 um 09.13.44
    National Environmental Agency Singapore (2016). Pull-Out Test for Bamboo Composite Reinforcement at the Advanced Fibre Composite Laboratory, in Singapore’s Second Biennal Update Report 2016 – Under The United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change, 23. Singapore: National Environmental Agency Singapore.

    The first research programme under the Singapore-ETH Centre, the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL), combines science and design to develop new knowledge, technologies, and approaches for a sustainable urban future with an Asian perspective. In addressing the challenges of rapid urbanisation, the FCL research team has developed innovative urban solutions in areas including urban design, mobility and transportation, low-energy cooling systems, and sustainable construction materials, among others.


    Ein Holz für alle Fälle

    December 4, 2016


    Laukenmann, Joachim (2016). Ein Holz für alle Fälle, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 3./4. December 2016: 36–37

    Bambus ist eigentlich gar kein Holz im engeren Sinne, sondem gehört zur Familie der Süßgraser. Auf der Basis von Bambusfasern und verschiedenen Harzen wurde zusammen mit der Firma Rehau und dem Future Cities Lab der ETH Zürich ein neues Komposit-Material hergestellt. Dieses Material weist äußerst hohe Festigkeitswerte auf und ist aufgrund der Witterungs-beständigkeit gut für Außen-anwendungen geeignet.


    Der Materialmann

    October 18, 2016


    Herzog, Andres (2016). Der Materialmann, Hochparterre 10/16(Dirk Hebel: von der Expo-Wolke zum Pilzstein): 12–15.

    Seit der Expo-Wolke erforscht der Architekt Dirk Hebel, wie wir mit Wasser, Pilzen oder Bambus bauen könnten. «Ich möchte aus Pilzen ein Haus wachsen lassen», sagt Dirk Hebel mit einem selbstverständlichen Grinsen auf dem Gesicht, als wäre die Rede von Backsteinen. Der ETH-Professor steht in seiner Wunderkammer im kühlen HIT-Gebäude auf dem Hönggerberg in Zürich. Im Gestell hinter ihm lagert Hebel die Materialien, die er derzeit auf der Architekturbiennale Venedig im Rahmen der Ausstellungsreihe «Time Space Existence» zeigt: Gemahlener Bauschutt, der mit gewachsenem Kalkstein zusammengehalten wird. Stühle, gepresst aus Altpapier. Beton, der sich dank eingelagerten Bakterien selber heilt, wenn sich Risse bilden. «Reporting from the front», so das Thema der diesjährigen Biennale, heisst bei Hebel: die Front von morgen.


    Elsevier: Bond-behavior study of newly developed bamboo-composite reinforcement in concrete

    August 17, 2016

    Elsivier Bond Behavier
    Javadian, Alireza, Dirk E. Hebel, Ian F.C. Smith, Mateusz Wielopolski (2016). Bond-behavior study of newly developed bamboo-composite reinforcement in concrete, Elsevier, Volume 122, 30 September 2016, London, Pages 110–117

    Bamboo is a rapid growing, affordable and available natural resource in many developing countries. It is potentially superior to timber and to construction steel in terms of its weight to strength ratio. A new technology has been developed in this research to preserve the mechanical properties of bamboo and to enhance physical characteristics through composite action for application in structural concrete. The goal of present work is to investigate the bonding properties of a newly developed bamboo-composite reinforcement in concrete through pull-out testing. Various coatings are applied to determine bonding behavior between concrete and newly developed bamboo-composite reinforcement. The results of this study demonstrate that bamboo-composite reinforcement without coating develops adequate bonding with the concrete matrix. However an epoxy based coating with sand particles could provide extra protection without loss of bond strength.



    Waste Vault ETH Zürich Pavilion

    August 8, 2016


    Heisel, Felix and Choi Mi-Ho(2016). Waste Vault ETH Zürich Pavilion, A&C Architecture and Culture Upcycling(423): 102–113.

    For the IDEAS CITY Festival in New York City in May 2015, a team of ETH Zürich’s Professorships Dirk E. Hebel and Philippe Block constructed a 90m2 pavilion made from recycled beverage packaging, aiming to show the immense potential of waste for the construction sector. The article includes an interview with project architect Felix Heisel.



    Engineering bamboo – a green alternative under basic research Part 3

    July 1, 2016


    Hebel, Dirk E., Felix Heisel, Alireza Javadian, Mateusz Wielopolski, Simon Lee, Philipp Müller, Karsten Schlesier (2016). Engineering bamboo – a green alternative under basic research Part 3, in: a+u 550, Feature: Vo Trong Nghia Architects, 2016:07, Japan Architecture and Urbanism, Tokyo, Japan

    Essay Series: Engineering bamboo – a green alternative under basic research Part 3, Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel: The Advanced Fibre Composite Laboratory in Singapore investigates new methods and procedures to produce a high-strength building material out of natural bamboo fibres. If successful, the research could provide a starting point for the introduction of new and adapted technologies that take a widespread natural resource as their basic premise and give reason for people who live in the tropical belt to foster one of the most common plants in the sub-tropical climate zone.



    Der Sandkrieg hat begonnen

    June 13, 2016

    Knellwolf, Bruno (2016). Der Sandkrieg hat begonnen, in St. Galler Tagblatt: 19–20

    Wider Erwarten wird Sand immer mehr zum raren Gut. Bereits spricht man vom Sandkrieg und der Sandmafia, die den Handel mit dem knapper werdenden Baustoff betreibt. Dirk E. Hebel und Felix Heisel zeigen an der Biennale in Venedig Alternativen.



    Engineering bamboo – a green technical alternative Part 2

    May 30, 2016


    Hebel, Dirk E., Felix Heisel, Alireza Javadian, Mateusz Wielopolski, Simon Lee, Philipp Müller, Karsten Schlesier (2016). Engineering bamboo – a green economic alternative Part 2, in: a+u 549, Feature: RCR Arqitectes, 2016:06, Japan Architecture and Urbanism, Tokyo, Japan

    Essay Series: Engineering bamboo – a green technical alternative Part 2, Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel: At the Advanced Fibre Composite Laboratory in Singapore, a new mechanical processing for raw bamboo has been developed, which leads to a fibrous material with physical features that are mainly defined by the bamboo species. This material is used as a natural fibre source for the production of a high-tensile fibre reinforced composite material aiming for the construction industry. Thereby, controlling the parameters of the underlying hot press fabrication process turned out to be crucial for a systematic tuning of the tensile capacities of the resulting composite materials.



    Lessons of Informality

    May 30, 2016

    Heisel Cover

    Heisel, Felix and Bisrat Kifle (eds.) (2016). Lessons of Informality: Architecture and Urban Planning for Emerging Territories – Concepts from Ethiopia.  Basel: Birkhäuser.

    Never before have cities been so important. Today, cities are home to the majority of the world’s population, accommodate most of global production, and are the goal of millions of migrants around the world. Yet, increasingly, our cities are growing informally, planned and built by non-professionals. Informality resembles an evolutionary process more than a simple absence of rules. In itself, informality is neither illegal, nor dysfunctional, nor indicative of poverty; in fact, its actors, skills and capital are probably our best chance to solve the world’s growing housing crisis.

    The book includes a DVD of _Spaces, a series of six documentaries on informality in Addis Ababa.



    Cities of Change Addis Ababa: second and revised edition

    May 30, 2016


    Hebel, Dirk E. and Marc M. Angelil (eds.) (2016). Cities of Change Addis Ababa, 2nd and Revised Edition. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2nd and rev. ed.

    Aiming to identify sustainable strategies―rather than upholding an a priori vision of an ideal city―the publication acknowledges the heterogeneous conditions of urban territories. This revised edition highlights questions of method and procedure that can be transferred to other ‘cities of change’, and covers recent developments, such as the increasing influence of China in African countries or the chances of high-density, low-rise developments.



    Forschung: Der Pilz, aus dem die Mauern sind

    May 30, 2016

    Paganini, Romano (2016). Forschung: Der Pilz, aus dem die Mauern sind, in: Beobachter 11/, Zürich, Switzerland

    An der ETH Zürich erforschen Architekten und Ingenieure das Potenzial von Pilzen. Sie sollen einst Plastik ersetzen. Die Prototypen sehen aus wie hellbraune Backsteine und riechen nach Grosis Estrich. Doch sie könnten das Industriematerial der Zukunft sein. «Es ist ein extrem vielversprechendes Material, dessen Potenzial wir noch gar nicht richtig abschätzen können», sagt ETH-Architekt Felix Heisel schwärmend.

    Read full article here.



    Stavění z odpadu (Waste Vault)

    May 30, 2016

    Bildschirmfoto 2016-06-20 um 12.59.28
    Hebel, Dirk E., Marta H. Wisniewska and Felix Heisel (2016). Stavění z odpadu, ERA21 03/2016 Udržitelný nerůst: 62–63.

    Zahrada a pavilon budoucnosti ETH Curych na festivalu IdeasCity v New Yorku
    en— Building from Waste. Future Garden and Pavilion ETH Zurich at IdeasCity, New York Dirk E. Hebel a Philippe Block / Katedra architektury ETH Curych

    For the IDEAS CITY Festival in New York at the end of May, ETH Zurich constructed a 90 m2 pavilion made from recycled beverage packaging. The project, led by ETH Zurich`s Assistant Professor Dirk E. Hebel and Professor Philippe Block, aims to show the immense potential of waste for the construction sector.



    Dirk E. Hebel: «Architektur ist eine Lebensphilosophie»

    May 30, 2016

    coop hebel

    Ettlin, Anna (2016). Dirk E. Hebel: «Architektur ist eine Lebensphilosophie», in: coop Zeitung, 23.05.2015, Zürich, Switzerland

    Dirk E. Hebel forscht über Baumaterialien der nächsten Generation. Sind Bambus, Pilze und Müll eine Alternative, wenn Stahl und Beton knapp werden? Er beschäftigt sich mit der Stadt der Zukunft, als Assistenzprofessor an der ETH Zürich und am Future Cities Laboratory in Singapur. Bekannt wurde Dirk E. Hebel (45) vor allem durch seine Arbeiten mit ungewöhnlichen Baumaterialien, die demnächst an der Architektur-Biennale in Venedig präsentiert werden. Wir müssen im 21. Jahrhundert zwei grosse Fragen beantworten: die Frage nach der Energie und die Frage nach den Ressourcen. In den letzten 150 Jahren haben wir uns angewöhnt, Materialien aus der Erdkruste zu entnehmen, zu brauchen und dann wegzuwerfen. Schon nach dieser relativ kurzen Zeit stossen wir damit an die Grenzen des Möglichen. Sand, der wichtigste Zuschlagstoff des Betons, wird zum Beispiel zunehmend knapp. Allein Marokko hat in den letzten Jahren 50 Prozent seiner Strände verloren. So geht es nicht mehr. Wir müssen Ansätze entwickeln, wie und mit welchen Materialien wir in Zukunft bauen wollen.

    Read full article here.