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NCCR Digital Fabrication (DFAB)


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The National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication is an ambitious research initiative founded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, based at ETH Zurich. By fostering interdisciplinary research in the fields of architecture, engineering, robotics, materials and computer science, the seamless combination of digital planning with the physical fabrication process shall be achieved, opening up entirely new perspectives for the future culture of building and architecture.



To celebrate Women’s Day 2021 and the 50th anniversary of women’s right to vote in Switzerland, the Swiss NCCRs (National Centres of Competence in Research) wanted to show you who our women researchers are and what a day in their job looks like. The videos are targeted at women and girls of school and undergraduate age to show what day to day life as a scientist is like and make it more accessible. Each NCCR hosted a week where they published several videos covering multiple scientific disciplines, and here we are bringing you what was produced by NCCR Digital Fabrication.

In-situ fabcicator2
In-situ fabricator. Source: NCCR Digital Fabrication

Digital fabrication enables the seamless combination of digital design with physical construction processes. To fully exploit this emerging technology within architecture, robotic fabrication must be expanded in prefabrication, but also fully implemented directly on construction sites. Achieving in-situ fabrication using mobile construction robotics is the goal of several research projects within the National Centre for Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication.

Professor Robert J. Flatt. Source: DFAB
Professor Robert J. Flatt. Source: DFAB

Being able to control the moment when concrete turns from liquid to solid is crucial for digitally fabricated concrete structures. The timing of this process can be controlled by tuning the chemistry and adding small amounts of specific substances at just the right time. Robert J. Flatt, Professor of Building Materials at ETH Zurich, discusses this process and the innovations in concrete chemistry and digital fabrication he and his team are working on to reduce the environmental footprint of the most used building material in the world.

In September a new Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) ETH in Architecture and Digital Fabrication will be offered by the Gramazio Kohler Research chair at ETH Zurich. This one-year, full-time program focuses on digital design and full-scale fabrication using state-of-the-art robotic fabrication facilities at ETH.