The fifth edition of the Zurich Science Days Scientifica was a huge success. More than 30,000 people visited the research exhibition stands and accompanying programme at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich from September 1-3. NCCR principal investigator Benjamin Dillenburger and his research team were present with a stand on 3D printing architecture.

Scientifica occurs every second year as a joint event of Zurich’s two biggest academic institutions. This year the Zurich Science Days were held under the motto “What data can reveal” and engaged the public in dialogues about research projects in the areas of big data, artificial intelligence, and digital technologies.

Incredible Potential of 3D Printing for Architecture
As part of the research exhibition in the main hall of ETH Zurich NCCR professor Benjamin Dillenburger and his research group provided the public with insight into their ongoing research on the potential of 3D printing for architecture and construction. Visitors received first-hand information from the researchers and were visibly astonished by the incredibly high resolution of an exhibited brick of the 3D printed structure “Digital Grotesque II” which was exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris earlier on this year as part of the exhibition “Mutations – Créations / Imprimer Le Monde”. During the opening of the exhibition, Benjamin Dillenburger and his team were also visited by Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, who was accompanied by ETH President Lino Guzzella and Michael Hengartner, President of the University of Zurich.

First Architectural Application by the End of 2017 as Part of the DFAB HOUSE Project
Whilst the many kids who visited the Zurich Science Days together with their parents clearly enjoyed the imaginary world evoked by the exhibited “Digital Grotesque” objects, the adult visitors used the chance to inform themselves first-hand about the forthcoming architectural application of 3D sand-prints as bespoke formworks for concrete ceiling slabs referred to as “Smart Slabs” for the DFAB HOUSE project on the NEST building of Empa in Dübendorf, which the NCCR officially announced in June this year.

Thanks to this year’s huge success, ETH and the University of Zurich announced that they are planning to carry out their celebration of science again in two years’ time. The NCCR Digital Fabrication is already looking forward to discussing its research progress with the public in 2019.

Image caption: Visitors marvel at a 3D printer’s architectural masterpiece.
Image credits: ETH Zurich