The Hidden Potential of Building Systems, 2012-2014
Scope of Use and Development in the Digital Age

In the 1960's there is an increased interest in the development of building systems, designed to meet a continually growing demand for new buildings – initially started in technologically high developed countries for mass housing and buildings in the public sector like schools and universities, followed by buildings for trade, industry and infrastructure.
As a consequence of the first oil crisis in 1973 and the resulting rise in awareness of the limits of economic growth, the idea of the completely system-based building and construction is shifted respectively reduced to the level of smaller structural elements: developments of specific systems for facades and ceilings, heating and ventilation have more and more replaced the concept of the "generalistic" building system.
Due to their age and the increasing need for maintenance and renovation, the system-buildings erected in the 1960's and 1970's are currently under scrutiny. A discussion is going on about abandonment and destruction, because of their sometimes poor condition combined with a lack of appreciation for their often monotonous and repetition-based architectural design – despite the fact that the buildings' underlying core concept often aims at growth and modification and therefore is intrinsically sustainable and long-lasting.

Within the habilitation project possibilities for further development and use of building systems in the digital age are investigated. The focus will not lie in the development of new "digital building systems" but rather in the exploration of the hidden and unused potential of existing systems. A discussion about challenges and opportunities for the handling of existing system-buildings shall be resumed at least rudimental.

Habilitation Faculty of Architecture, ETH Zurich
Dr.-Ing. Silke Langenberg




Credits:
Gramazio & Kohler, Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETH Zurich

In cooperation with: Prof. Fabio Gramazio, Prof. Matthias Kohler