Last Saturday, on the 28th of May 2016, the 15th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice officially opened its doors. The NCCR Digital Fabrication is prominently represented by its investigators Prof. Dr. Philippe Block, Prof. Benjamin Dillenburger, Prof. Dr. Olga Sorkine-Hornung and Prof. Dr. Joseph Schwartz who contributed in different project groups to this year’s exhibition. Their work is showcased in the main exhibition as well as in the Swiss National Pavilion designed by ETH Professor Christian Kerez.

The Venice Architecture Biennale is one of the most important international platforms for architecture. This year’s edition is curated by Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena and takes place from May 28th to November 27th 2016 at various venues in Venice. The exhibition follows the motto “Reporting from the Front”. The NCCR Digital Fabrication supported Prof. Dr. Philippe Block and Prof. Benjamin Dillenburger in their contributions to this year’s Biennale.

NCCR principal investigator Prof. Dr. Philippe Block together with his research group displays its work in three different projects: “Beyond Bending”, a project lead by the Block Research Group and realised in collaboration with Ochsendorf, DeJong & Block as well as The Escobedo Group, exhibits an impressive limestone vault which was created using novel structural design approaches and digital fabrication methods. “Droneport”, lead by the team of Norman Foster and realised in collaboration with the Block Research Group, Future Africa – EPFL and Ochsendorf, DeJong & Block, consists of an earthen tile shell that serves as a prototype for a terminal for drones, the “droneport” in Rwanda, which in the future will be part of an infrastructure helping to reach remote regions of Africa. In addition, the collaboration between the Block Research Group and ZHA I CODE is shown in the Zaha Hadid memorial exhibition.

Additionally, the NCCR principal investigators Prof. Benjamin Dillenburger and Prof. Dr. Olga Sorkine-Hornung as well as associated investigator Prof. Dr. Joseph Schwartz contributed to this year’s Swiss national exhibition. Their work flow into the project “Incidental Space” which is exhibited at the Swiss Pavilion. Designed by ETH Professor Christian Kerez, the exhibition consists of an amorphous sculptural form which was built with different processes including digital ones such as 3D printing. The project re-examines the possibilities of architecture and fabrication.

On the occasion of the biennale, Lino Guzzella, President of ETH Zurich, underlined the importance of digital fabrication for the future of architecture: “ETH Zurich can look back on a long tradition of architectural teaching and research, and is today taking a leading role in the field of digital fabrication. Digitalisation will, without a doubt, fundamentally change the future of construction.” Together with Federal Councillor Alain Berset, Guzzella was present at the official opening of the Swiss Pavilion on Saturday, May 28th. The NCCR’s investigators and their project collaborators now look forward to an interesting exhibition period.

Read more about the contribution of the NCCR investigators’ contributions at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale in the official press release of ETH Zurich.

Exhibition Venues:
“Beyond Bending”: Main exhibition, Corderie dell’Arsenale
“Droneport”: Main exhibition, Arsenale
Zaha Hadid memorial exhibition: Palazzo Franchetti
“Incidental Space”: Swiss Pavilion

Further Informations:
Official Website of the Architecture Biennale 2016:
Website of the Swiss contributions to Venice Biennials by Pro Helvetia:

Image credits: KEYSTONE/Christian Beutler
Image caption: Guidance through the exhibition by Christian Kerez within the Swiss Pavilion of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice in the presence of Swiss Federal Councillor Alain Berset on Friday, 27th May 2016. From left to right: Andrew Holland, Director Pro Helvetia, Charles Beer, President of the Foundation Pro Helvetia, Kaspar Wenger, CEO Holcim Schweiz, Lino Guzzella, President ETH, Swiss Federal Councillor Alain Berset, Martin Joos, Christian Kerez und Andy Boekly.