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Eth Zurich

Gothic Construction Techniques Inspire ETH Zurich's Lightweight Concrete Floor Slabs

08:00 - 19 April, 2017
Gothic Construction Techniques Inspire ETH Zurich's Lightweight Concrete Floor Slabs , © ETH Zurich / Peter Rüegg.
© ETH Zurich / Peter Rüegg.

With the intention of maximizing available space and avoiding steep construction costs, researchers from ETH Zurich’s Department of Architecture have devised a concrete floor slab that with a thickness of a mere 2cm, remains load bearing and simultaneously sustainable. Inspired by the construction of Catalan vaults, this new floor system swaps reinforced steel bars for narrow vertical ribs, thus significantly reducing the weight of construction and ensuring stability to counter uneven distributions on its surface. 

As opposed to traditional concrete floors that are evidently flat, these slabs are designed to arch to support major loads, reminiscent of the vaulted ceilings found in Gothic cathedrals. Without the need for steel reinforcing and with less concrete, the production of CO2 is minimized and the resulting 2cm floors are 70% lighter than their typical concrete counterparts.

via Block Research Group via Block Research Group via Block Research Group via Block Research Group +5

The Top 200 Universities in the World for Architecture 2017

19:01 - 7 March, 2017
The Top 200 Universities in the World for Architecture 2017, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Simmons Hall, designed by Steven Holl Architects. Image © Flickr user infanticida. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Simmons Hall, designed by Steven Holl Architects. Image © Flickr user infanticida. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Global higher education analysis firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has released in 2017 rankings of the world’s top universities for the study of Architecture & Built Environment. This year, for the seventh edition of the survey, QS has expanded the ranking to list the world’s top 200 schools, including institutions across all six inhabited continents.

For the third year in a row, MIT has topped the list, finishing ahead of the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). Read on for the full rankings.

Considering the Airport Terminal of Tomorrow

04:00 - 19 January, 2017
Considering the Airport Terminal of Tomorrow, Courtesy of Aerial Futures
Courtesy of Aerial Futures

Aerial Futures, Grounded Visions: Shaping the Airport Terminal of Tomorrow was a two-day symposium held in October 2016 as part of the European Cultural Center's collateral event at the 2016 Venice Biennale. It encouraged discussion about the future of air travel from the perspectives of architecture, design, technology, culture and user experience. The event featured presentations and discussions by the likes of airport architect Curtis FentressNelly Ben YahounDonald Albrecht, Director of the Museum of the City of New York; Anna Gasco, post-doctoral researcher at the ETH-Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore; Jonathan Ledgard, co-founder of the Droneport Project; and Ashok Raiji, Principal at Arup New York.

Courtesy of Aerial Futures Courtesy of Aerial Futures Courtesy of Aerial Futures Courtesy of Aerial Futures +4

A Floating Timber Pavilion Takes Center Stage at Manifesta 11 in Zurich

06:00 - 20 June, 2016
A Floating Timber Pavilion Takes Center Stage at Manifesta 11 in Zurich, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

On June 11th, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, also known as Manifestabegan its 100-day stint in this edition's host city, Zurich, Switzerland. The festival's center-piece is a timber raft floating on Lake Zurich, known as the Pavilion of Reflections. The temporary structure was designed and realized by Studio Tom Emerson and a team of thirty students from ETH Zurich. Constructed primarily of timber, Christian Jankowski, curator of Manifesta 11, describes the exhibit “as a floating multi-functional platform with a giant LED screen, a stand for spectators, a swimming pool and a bar.”

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +14

Rock Print: The Remarkable Deinstallation of a Standout Exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Biennial

12:00 - 27 March, 2016

It’s a shame that the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial has already come and gone, and that the Windy City will have to wait until next fall for another dose of architectural euphoria. But it’s worth revisiting one of the event’s standout exhibits, an installation equally exemplary for its display as for its expiry. “Rock Print,” created by Gramazio Kohler Research of ETH Zurich and Skylar Tibbits of MIT's Self-Assembly Lab, was a four-legged, neo-primitive tower of stones and string that was erected without mortar or other reinforcement, meaning its disassembly would be the exact inverse action of its construction. The string, laid down by an algorithm, was the binder for stones laid by hand in thin stacks – the team called them “slices” – in what amounted to a type of analog version of 3D printing. The material process has been given the name “reversible concrete” and could be a paradigm shift in construction for its portability and versatility.

In the above video, the deconstruction of “Rock Print” is shown in abridged stages, where the structure’s string is dislodged and returned to a motorized spool on the gallery floor. The small stone fragments spew from the top of the structure like debris from the top of a volcano in the midst of eruption, and all that remains at the end is a small mound of concrete pebbles occupying a large circumference. A structure like “Rock Print” emphasizes that detritus can be avoided by adapting the process of building to vanguard materials that seek to match the brevity of contemporary construction with materials that curtail the waste.

120 Hours Announces Winners of Its 2016 Competition "What Ever Happened to Architectural Space?"

14:00 - 22 March, 2016
120 Hours Announces Winners of Its 2016 Competition "What Ever Happened to Architectural Space?", Florilegium. Image via 120 Hours
Florilegium. Image via 120 Hours

The student architecture competition “120 Hours” has released the winners of its 2016 competition—“What Ever Happened to Architectural Space?”—which this year challenged entrants to imagine a space without program or site. In a time when the discourse of architecture is influenced more by program and environment than spatial quality, the brief was uniquely challenging in its simplicity. Entries were received from over 2863 students from 72 countries, with winners selected by a jury headed by Christian Kerez and including Maria Shéhérazade Giudici, Beate Hølmebakk, Neven Mikac Fuchs and Marina Montresor.

Originally devised by students in Oslo, the competition format is intended as a way of encouraging discourse among architecture students across the world, with competition briefs released just 120 hours (5 days) before the submission deadline. These unique restrictions have fostered a reputation for unconventional and challenging proposals and winning entries in the past have included giant scaffolds of hammocks and the use of robots to inhabit an abandoned town. Read on to see the top three award recipients for 2016.

The Top 100 Universities in the World for Architecture 2016

09:45 - 22 March, 2016
The Top 100 Universities in the World for Architecture 2016, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Image © Wikimedia user Fcb981 licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Image © Wikimedia user Fcb981 licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

QS has released its 2016 rankings of the top 100 schools for architecture in the world. The company has produced an annual survey of universities since 2011, now comparing including over 800 universities worldwide across 42 subjects, and rating the top universities based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. As they did last year, MIT came out top of the list in architecture. Read on for the full rankings list for architecture, and be sure to visit QS's site for the full rankings list which is sortable by subject, country or continent.

Swiss Students Design a Floating Pavilion on Lake Zurich for Manifesta 11

04:00 - 12 November, 2015
Swiss Students Design a Floating Pavilion on Lake Zurich for Manifesta 11, Rendering of of 'Pavilon of Reflections'. Image © ETH Studio Emerson
Rendering of of 'Pavilon of Reflections'. Image © ETH Studio Emerson

Manifesta—a nomadic, European biennial of contemporary art which "responds to the new social, cultural and political reality that developed in the aftermath of the Cold War"—emerged in the 1990s. For the eleventh incarnation of the event, which will take place in Zurich during the summer of 2016, Studio Tom Emerson have developed designs for a floating island which "will constitute a new temporary landmark in the city." Located on Lake Zurich and hosting an open-air cinema and integrated swimming pool, the Pavillon of Reflections will act as the central node for the 100-day festival. Designed and realised by a team of thirty students from ETH Zurich, the pavilion aims to offer a space for dialogue and reflection on the specific artworks created for the biennial.

Gramazio Kohler and Skylar Tibbits' "Rock Print" Is a Gravity-Defying Pile of Stones

12:00 - 14 October, 2015
Gramazio Kohler and Skylar Tibbits' "Rock Print" Is a Gravity-Defying Pile of Stones, Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich

As everyone knows, if you stack layer upon layer of small stones atop one another, what you eventually get is a pile of stones. It's among the least dramatic phenomena in the whole of nature; add string though, and the whole process is transformed. That's the idea behind Rock Print, an installation at the Chicago Architecture Biennial created by Gramazio Kohler Research of ETH Zurich and Skylar Tibbits of MIT's Self-Assembly Lab, which uses just these two elements to create a dramatic four-legged column that is self-supporting and can be quite literally unraveled into its constituent parts after use.

Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich Courtesy of Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich +17

These Two Drones Just Built a Bridge

16:21 - 23 September, 2015

View post on imgur.com

Two quadcopter drones just autonomously built a footbridge that is capable of withstanding the weight of a human. Outfitted with a motorized spool and plastic tubes that dispense Dyneema, a "material with a low weight-to-strength ratio," the flying machines were able to construct a lightweight tensile bridge that spans 7.4 meters between two scaffolding structures at the Flying Machine Arena in Zurich.

gta exhibitions: Book for Architects

19:30 - 4 September, 2015
gta exhibitions: Book for Architects, Karl Holmqvist, SKYLINE IS THE BY-LINEZZ (Excerpt), 2014
Karl Holmqvist, SKYLINE IS THE BY-LINEZZ (Excerpt), 2014

Architects write books, read books, love books and collect books. Books loom large for architects – books that endeavor to talk about architecture, books that are a source of inspiration, a forum for polemics, an expression of dreams, wishful thinking and so much more. This exhibition showcases a historical selection of special “books for architects” as well as commentary on books by contemporary architects, historians and theorists, who, in various forms, conceptually and concretely explore a great many aspects of books for architects. Selected items are spatially arranged within the exhibition, moreover, for a mise en scène of reading, writing and collecting books.

Light Matters: Smart Flying Pixels Create a Floating Glow

00:00 - 10 October, 2014

Imagine luminaires that could fly and visualise new buildings or individually guide you through space. What would happen if you could even interact with these flying pixels? These concepts could be realised in the near future as the first prototypes and experiments are being introduced. Software-driven LED pixels combined with drone swarm technology provide extraordinary possibilities for inducing new forms of spatial experience. These luminous pixel clouds emerge as digital patterns, but at the same time they emanate a romantic quality with their unique star formations twinkling in the night sky. The first projects have shared a playful note, but laboratories such as MIT's SENSEable City Lab, ARES Lab and Ars Electronica Futurelab have shown an intriguing future in urban design for guidance systems or envisioning real estate developments, as advances in battery technology and wireless control have opened new perspectives for a life with smart flying pixels.

Barcelona Commemorates 300 Years of Catalan Spirit With 7 Public Installations

01:00 - 29 June, 2014
Barcelona Commemorates 300 Years of Catalan Spirit With 7 Public Installations, Identity / URBANUS. Image © Marcela Grassi
Identity / URBANUS. Image © Marcela Grassi

Every year, citizens of Catalonia commemorate the events of September 11th 1714, a key date in the War of the Spanish Succession that has come to symbolize what Voltaire called "the Barcelonans' extreme love of freedom." With this year marking the 300th anniversary of these events, Barcelona Cultura enlisted the Fundació Enric Miralles to curate 7 public installations around the city as part of its Tricentenari BCN program.

The result is BCN RE.SET, organized by Benedetta Tagliabue of the Fundació Enric Miralles and stage director Àlex Ollé, which invited guest architects from countries all over the world to colloborate with local universities and create installations symbolizing 6 political and ideological concepts: identity, freedom, Europe, diversity, democracy and memory. These installations will be in place until September 11th. Read on after the break for descriptions of all 6 installations.

Europe / ETH Zürich + Urban–Think Tank. Image © Marcela Grassi Diversity / Yael Reisner + Peter Cook. Image © Marcela Grassi Freedom / Anupama Kundoo. Image © Marcela Grassi Memory / Grafton Architects. Image © Marcela Grassi +15

Holcim Foundation Announces Jury for 2015 Global Award

00:00 - 12 June, 2014
Holcim Foundation Announces Jury for 2015 Global Award, Courtesy of Holcim Foundation
Courtesy of Holcim Foundation

The Holcim Foundation has announced the global jury for the 2015 Holcim Awards, its triennial prize which encourages architects, planners, engineers, project owners and students to share their projects and visions that "go beyond conventional notions of sustainable construction."

The 2015 prize is the Holcim Foundation's fourth cycle, and this year will feature a total prize fund of $2 million - a significant increase on their 2012 prize fund of $300,000. To oversee the awards, they have recruited independent experts of international stature, including the Deans of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and ETH Zurich, and Alejandro Aravena of Chilean practice Elemental.

Read on after the break for the full list of jurors and more on the prize

Urban Think Tank Takes on Housing in South Africa's Townships

00:00 - 20 March, 2014

Despite 20 years of government promises to improve the quality of housing following the end of apartheid, for many in South Africa's townships there has been little noticeable change. This is not to say that the South African government has not been working to meet these goals; however, the scale of the problem is so large, and with population growth and migration, the challenge is only getting greater.

That's why Urban Think Tank, in collaboration with ETH Zurich and South African NGO Ikhayalami, have worked together on a design for a more immediate, incremental solution called "Empower Shack."