2019 Swedish Concrete Award

Prof. Dr. Robert J. Flatt / NCCR Digital Fabrication (Switzerland)

for extraordinary achievements within the fields of architecture and digital fabrication

www.dfab.ch

ARCHITECTURAL RESEARCH IN THE DIGITAL AGE

Since its foundation in 2014, the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication has aimed to revolutionize architecture through a seamless combination of digital technologies and physical building processes. Based on inter-organizational cooperation and including an equal opportunities program, over 60 researchers across Switzerland collaborate to develop groundbreaking solutions for the construction industry of tomorrow. The six disciplines that cooperate within the NCCR Digital Fabrication are:

Architecture, structural design, materials science, computer science, control systems engineering and robotics.

JURY MOTIVATION

There is common awareness that the building sector needs to be further developed, especially by integrating digital technologies.  The NCCR Digital Fabrication is an extraordinary and truly inspiring approach towards changing the building culture based on the power of collective research. The organization breaks boundaries between professors, institutes and researchers; and between academia, industry and society in order to allow for knowledge transfer, interdisciplinarity and an openly led discussion – an important tool to meet the challenges that architecture and construction are facing in times of climate change and resource scarcity.

NCCR Digital Fabrication addresses critical factors of the building process:

  • Inter-operational collaboration within six different competences.
  • An innovation process ranging from theory to practice, from the lab to full scale testing.
  • Rethinking construction based on both architectural and structural principles, including several critical building properties such as acoustics and indoor climate.
  • Broad communication plan to disseminate results to the public.
  • Striving to promote gender equality and support researchers through the early stages of their careers.

With the construction of the DFAB HOUSE the researchers have taken their work to another level: out of the lab and into public. Under real-world conditions a series of inspiring inventions are tested using a wide range of materials and technology, including a number within the field of concrete:

  • Smart Slab, that “combines the excellent structural properties of concrete with the geometric freedom of 3D printing which allows for the creation of highly optimized building components with complex structural configuration out of concrete” and at the same time reduces the weight by 65% as compared to a standard slab.
  • Smart Dynamic Casting, a continuous robotic slip- forming process, that “is suitable for the fabrication of standard and non-standard architectural columns
  • Mesh Mould, that “combines formwork and reinforcement into one robotically fabricated construction” in order to produce “complex and structurally efficient geometries at no extra cost, while construction waste is eliminated from the process

Finally, we would also like to stress the importance of communication and reaching out to the public, that cannot be underestimated for the introduction of change to a conservative field such as the building industry. By attending the Biennale in Venice several times in the past, by lecturing at a range of conferences and by exhibiting their progress all over the world, NCCR-DFAB reaches out and inspires others in a completely new and accessible way: open source.

PROF. DR. ROBERT J. FLATT

While being the Deputy Director of the NCCR Digital Fabrication, Robert is the central expert for concrete of the interdisciplinary initiative. The majority of ”Digital Concrete” projects within the NCCR, including DFAB HOUSE, have involved a strong collaboration with him. Robert represents a scientist who collaborates with architects and other disciplines like robotics, structural engineers, etc. in an open and dedicated way and who produces exemplary architectural prototypes together with the industry.

Due to his exceptional scientific contributions towards the aim of introducing concrete to the digital fabrication process, Robert is an excellent choice for the award, representing the NCCR Digital Fabrication as a research initiative, as well as the DFAB HOUSE as an excellent demonstration of its potential.

On behalf of the Swedish Concrete Association,

Ronny Andersson, Cementa (Head of jury)
Karl-Gunnar Olsson, Chalmers
Max Zinnecker, White Arkitekter

ARCHITECTURAL RESEARCH IN THE DIGITAL AGE

Since its foundation in 2014, the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication has aimed to revolutionize architecture through a seamless combination of digital technologies and physical building processes. Based on inter-organizational cooperation and including an equal opportunities program, over 60 researchers across Switzerland collaborate to develop groundbreaking solutions for the construction industry of tomorrow. The six disciplines that cooperate within the NCCR Digital Fabrication are:

Architecture, structural design, materials science, computer science, control systems engineering and robotics.

JURY MOTIVATION

There is common awareness that the building sector needs to be further developed, especially by integrating digital technologies.  The NCCR Digital Fabrication is an extraordinary and truly inspiring approach towards changing the building culture based on the power of collective research. The organization breaks boundaries between professors, institutes and researchers; and between academia, industry and society in order to allow for knowledge transfer, interdisciplinarity and an openly led discussion – an important tool to meet the challenges that architecture and construction are facing in times of climate change and resource scarcity.

NCCR Digital Fabrication addresses critical factors of the building process:

  • Inter-operational collaboration within six different competences.
  • An innovation process ranging from theory to practice, from the lab to full scale testing.
  • Rethinking construction based on both architectural and structural principles, including several critical building properties such as acoustics and indoor climate.
  • Broad communication plan to disseminate results to the public.
  • Striving to promote gender equality and support researchers through the early stages of their careers.

With the construction of the DFAB HOUSE the researchers have taken their work to another level: out of the lab and into public. Under real-world conditions a series of inspiring inventions are tested using a wide range of materials and technology, including a number within the field of concrete:

  • Smart Slab, that “combines the excellent structural properties of concrete with the geometric freedom of 3D printing which allows for the creation of highly optimized building components with complex structural configuration out of concrete” and at the same time reduces the weight by 65% as compared to a standard slab.
  • Smart Dynamic Casting, a continuous robotic slip- forming process, that “is suitable for the fabrication of standard and non-standard architectural columns
  • Mesh Mould, that “combines formwork and reinforcement into one robotically fabricated construction” in order to produce “complex and structurally efficient geometries at no extra cost, while construction waste is eliminated from the process

Finally, we would also like to stress the importance of communication and reaching out to the public, that cannot be underestimated for the introduction of change to a conservative field such as the building industry. By attending the Biennale in Venice several times in the past, by lecturing at a range of conferences and by exhibiting their progress all over the world, NCCR-DFAB reaches out and inspires others in a completely new and accessible way: open source.

PROF. DR. ROBERT J. FLATT

While being the Deputy Director of the NCCR Digital Fabrication, Robert is the central expert for concrete of the interdisciplinary initiative. The majority of ”Digital Concrete” projects within the NCCR, including DFAB HOUSE, have involved a strong collaboration with him. Robert represents a scientist who collaborates with architects and other disciplines like robotics, structural engineers, etc. in an open and dedicated way and who produces exemplary architectural prototypes together with the industry.

Due to his exceptional scientific contributions towards the aim of introducing concrete to the digital fabrication process, Robert is an excellent choice for the award, representing the NCCR Digital Fabrication as a research initiative, as well as the DFAB HOUSE as an excellent demonstration of its potential.

On behalf of the Swedish Concrete Association,

Ronny Andersson, Cementa (Head of jury)
Karl-Gunnar Olsson, Chalmers
Max Zinnecker, White Arkitekter