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CAAD - Research - Projects

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2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007|2006|2005

Projects 2010

Projects 2009

KTI 9759.1 PFES-ES IPFM (individualized parametric facade-modules with decentralized building services)
has the goal to investigate the production of parametric façade-modules with integrated building services in a new building model. Parametrics in planning and production enable demanding energetic requirements as well as adapt to differentiated customer requests. Despite prefabrication, the building industry at present is increasingly overtaxed with the rising technical complexity posed on the buildings. State of the art building practice can be improved through parametric façade-modules with integrated, decentralized, modern building service systems
(Hauptgesuchsteller: Prof. Dr. Ludger Hovestadt, ETHZ Mitgesuchsteller: Prof. Dr. Hansjürg Leibundgut, ETHZ, project duration:01.10.2008-30.09.2010
Haupt-Wirtschaftspartner: Halter AG Zürich, Erne AG Holzbau, Laufenburg, Aepli Metallbau, Gossau)

Projects 2008

Theory: The new book series Context Architecture - key concepts between architecture, art, science and technology is edited by our colleague Georg Vrachliotis together with alumnus Andrea Gleiniger. In spring 2008 Birkhaeuser will publish the first two volumes. The motivation of this book series is basically to open up a critical discussion of certain concepts that play a key role in the ongoing architectural discourse on architecture and information technology. The book series is organized in cooperation with the Zurich University of the Arts, Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Schwarz, President of the Zurich University of the Arts. Project website: Context Architecture

Monte Rosa Hut (2008) The timber framing of a five-storey building was optimized with evolutionary algorithms. Minimal weight, constant member cross-sections, and traditional carpenters’ joinery without metal fittings. The building is composed of thousands of differently fitted elements, which were produced directly from the algorithms with a computerized machine. (Digital Chain) (Architect: Andrea Deplazes).

Statistical Design: Hardturm (2006-2008) In the strategic planning for a building project in Zurich with a budget of 300 million CHF a number of architecture and engineering offices work approximately 3 Months in order to determine the essential coordinates for project development. With a new tool, this planning time can be reduced to several days. The planning process becomes more adaptable to changing client requirements and risks can be minimized. (

Projects 2007

Theory: The research focus Techniktheorie/Theory of Technology in Architecture is founded by our colleague Georg Vrachliotis in collaboration with Oliver Schürer from the Institut for Architecture Theory at the Technical University of Vienna. Dr. Oliver Schürer is a visiting researcher at the Chair for CAAD. The main goal is to intensify and establish the dialog between architecture, theory of technology and history of science. Topic of the initial research project is an investigation of the Swiss architect Fritz Haller, who is the most established system designer in switzerland since the 1960s. Project website: Techniktheorie

Space Time Play. Computer Games, Architecture and Urbanism: The Next Level (2005-2007) is a book edited by our colleague Steffen P. Walz together with Friedrich von Borries and Matthias Böttger, and published by Birkhäuser / Springer in September 2007 (US: November 2007).

"Space Time Play" is a journey through the past, present and potential spaces of computer and video games. The richly illustrated texts in "Space Time Play" cover a wide range of gamespaces: from milestone video and computer games to virtual metropolises to digitally-overlaid physical spaces. As a comprehensive and interdisciplinary compendium, "Space Time Play" explores the architectural history of computer games and the future of ludic space. More than 140 experts from game studies and the game industry, from architecture and urban planning, have contributed essays, game reviews and interviews. Find more information on the book's website or at the wiki website.

Swiss Design Institute for Finance and Banking (2007-) The Swiss Design Institute for Finance and Banking (SDFB), founded in 2007, is a university based center of competence for applied as well as for scientific research in cooperation with the Swiss finance and banking industry. Our institute supports the initiative - Prof. Hovestadt and our colleague Steffen P. Walz are elected members of the SDFB's steering committee - alongside other Swiss institutes and groups from the University of Zurich, the University of St. Gallen and the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). The main focus of the SDFB's applied and scientific research is the relationship between Switzerland's financial institutions and their customers with particular regard to digital and interactive technologies.

REXplorer (2005-2007) is a unique interactive mobile & cross-media adventure game for tourists. Launched in June 2007, REXplorer is a joint offer of the REX Regensburg Experience museum and the city of Regensburg, Germany, and has been co-produced by us - headed by our colleague Steffen P. Walz - and the Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen University / Tico Ballagas & Prof. Borchers. Find more information about the game at the project's website.

Swiss Exhibition (2007) The exhibition stands are laboriously arranged by hand according to client demands. This procedure is very restrictive and requires many weeks for each event. A new system with evolutionary algorithms drastically accelerates this procedure and even enables new, adjustable products. (

Südpark (2005 - 2007) A façade for a residential/office building in Basel should be able to individually accommodate various internal and external conditions. The result of a design process using approximately 200 iterations is a façade made up of many different elements that does not exceed the budget, because computerized machines can directly produce the parts. (Architect: Herzog & de Meuron).

Heerhugowaard (2005 - 2007) An urban design project with Karres en Brands and KCAP with more than 3,000 individualized lots and very complex framework conditions due to the subsoil. Planning by hand would not have been able to manage this kind of complexity and would have had to proceed very cautiously. A combination of typologies, grammar, spring systems and evolution led to efficient, differentiated and practicable solutions (,

Projects 2006

Libeskind St. Gallen Daniel Libeskind’s Futuropolis is a wooden sculpture designed for a workshop held at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) to represent the “City of the Future”. The sculpture is based on a triangular grid, whereby 98 tightly packed towers form an ascending volume reaching to a height of 3.8 meters. caad.designtoproduction generated the geometry for all of the parts according to the given set of design rules. For the detailing of the 2,164 parts, designtoproduction used a traditional connector in a new context by developing a syntax of aluminum dovetail details.

(2006) A sculpture by Daniel Libeskind for the University of St. Gallen. Because this piece could not be drawn by hand, it was described by CAAD through algorithms, optimized through evolutionary mechanisms, and produced directly by computerized machines. The iterations of the so-called Digital Chain enabled cost savings of 70%.

designtoproduction designtoproduction (2006) is CAAD’s first spin-off and was founded by Christoph Schindler and Fabian Scheurer together with Arnold Walz. designtoproduction supports architects, planners, engineers, and contractors in the efficient design and production of non-standard architecture. The references of designtoproduction are notable: They contributed to projects by Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid, Kees Christiaanse, Renzo Piano, SANAA, Shigeru Ban and UN Studio. (

Statistical Design: OQYANA (2006) Sixty engineers of various specializations worked 3 months on one iteration of strategic planning for a building project with a budget of 4 billion US$ off the coast of Dubai. The essential parameters of this planning were able to be determined using algorithms, and a procedure was implemented, which ran iterations in only one hour. Thus, planning becomes more flexible, and risks are minimized. (

Projects 2005

Olympic Stadium Beijing (2005) Evolutionary algorithms determine the placement of the structural members. They are 'wrapped' around the form of the stadium and are laid out so that the interstitial spaces are not too large, nor too small. Manual work with parametric CAD (CATIA) would have not been able to find a solution ever after several months due to the many parameters involved (Architect: Herzog & de Meuron).

Swissbau Pavilion (Basel, 2005) The Swissbau Pavilion was built to present the current state of research on “digital production chains” at the ETH Zurich’s CAAD-chair. The spherical dome with its asymmetrically placed openings is assembled from more than 300 individual wooden frames. caad.designtoproduction implemented a continuous digital workflow from design to fabrication. An interactive growth simulation optimized the structural mesh in accordance to the openings and constructional requirements, following which the 1,200 elements were automatically detailed and prepared for fabrication on a CNC-router.

Inventioneering Architecture (2005) Inventioneering Architecture is a traveling exhibition platform for the four Swiss architectural faculties. The platform, measuring 40 x 3.5 meters, represents a cross section through an abstract Swiss landscape. caad.designtoproduction developed an innovative and cost-efficient solution to fabricate the doubly curved surface based on the specific capabilities of a five-axis CNC-router. 1,000 individual rafters were cut from wooden boards, based on an automated workflow that included detailing, optimized nesting and generation of machine code.


Page last modified on November 26, 2009, at 03:36 PM