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CAAD - Research - Overview

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■ Research

"One of the books of the year 2007": CAAD publication 'Space Time Play'
In the December 2, 2007 issue (No. 48), German weekly newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung has recommended the CAAD book publication "Space Time Play. Computer Games, Architecture and Urbanism: The Next Level" as "one of the books of the year 2007" ...>>
Under the name "" an alliance was created at ETH Zurich, with the goal to develop a worldwide standard for electrical intelligence. Basis for this is a new chip - developed with the collaboration of ETH Professor Ludger Hovestadt - a chip with a large potential for saving electricity ...>>

CAAD researcher named as a Forum Nokia Champion
Steffen P. Walz, pervasive game design researcher at ETH Zurich's chair for CAAD, has been named a member of Forum Nokia Champion, a recognition and reward program for top mobile developers worldwide. Forum Nokia Champions are a select group of outstanding individuals, honored because of their skills and devotion to the Forum Nokia community. ...>>

CAAD researcher named as a Forum Nokia Champion Steffen P. Walz, pervasive game design ...>>

...more >>


State of Research

Relating to universal building-product-models [IFC: Industry Foundation Classes ISO 16739], architectural CAD systems (CAAD - Computer Aided Architectural Design) started out as simple drawing tools. Current developments in parametric architectural systems [AutoDesk, Bentley, Dessault, Graphisoft, Messerli, Nemetschek, etc.] make geometries more flexible and find their expression in the current non-orthogonal architectures [one early example is the Guggenheim Museum from Frank Gehry in Bilbao]. The research of the chair of CAAD at ETH Zurich is long-engaged anticipating the next step, which is to adapt the topology as well as the geometry. This research can be best assigned to the interdisciplinary concept 'complex adaptive systems (CAS)' [see i.e. Popper, Hayek, Weaver, Colander, Buchanan, Gell-Mann, Dooley, Prigogine]. Phenomena of economics, biology, sociology, physics, and linguistics are described in an integrative manner and constructed technically [see i.e. Fogel, Eibel, Holland, Koza]. Keywords include self-organisation, complexity, adaptation, evolution, emergence, and resilience...

Positioning the Chair of CAAD

Because there is a significant deficit in our understanding of these ways of thinking and technologies in the field of architecture, the Chair of CAAD has concentrated its research the past 6 years on the opening of architecture to this interdisciplinary development. As a result, concrete advantages have been determined through various projects for the architectural field:

The complexity of design tasks can be significantly increased. This means it is now possible to design with considerably more elements, parameters, and linkages.
Designs can be adapted more sophisticatedly to individual and site-specific conditions. Designs can better fulfill increasingly differentiated ecological requirements.
Architects can significantly respond better to the pressure economists exert for more speed, flexibility, and transparency.

New methods of planar and spatial organization become possible (i.e. dynamic spring systems instead of normal paving).

An industrialization of buildings has until now always depended upon serial production and, as a result, 'patterned' buildings, which are socially undesirable. The new design technologies paired with computer controlled production will enable industrialized production for the first time without a rigid grid. Since these relatively pragmatic projects have demonstrated the potential of CAS in architecture – a feat unparalleled worldwide – a second phase of generalization should now begin:

Professionalisation: Spin-off firms should establish these methods and technologies on the market.

Systematisation: Following the successful 'pragmatic experiments', the Chair of CAAD will work on the theory and integrated method of architecture as a complex, adaptive system. Planned is the assemblage and moderation of a creative commons developer platform in a sister project.

Internationalisation: Former developments were very much bound to the culture and building practice of the Swiss context (highly developed and small). Investigations in other – especially larger and, as a result, more potent - contexts are essential for the success of this research. Moreover, it offers a good opportunity to export these technologies.

Beyond the Grid - Architecture and Information Technology


Page last modified on August 05, 2010, at 03:25 PM