After three years of intense development work, Matthias Kohler hands the leadership over to Philippe Block. Philippe Block will steer the NCCR together with new deputy director Robert Flatt, who will strongly focus on the NCCR’s knowledge and technology transfer activities.

Both Philippe Block and Robert Flatt have been with the NCCR as principal investigators since its foundation and are looking forward to lead the maturing research consortium in the years ahead. Matthias Kohler, who initiated the NCCR over six years ago and who developed it in a successful 70 people research programme over the last three years, will remain with the NCCR as principal investigator and DFAB HOUSE responsible in the NCCR’s steering committee.

New Director Prof. Dr. Philippe Block, ETH Professor for Architecture and Structure
Philippe Block is associate professor and deputy director at the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich, where he co-directs the Block Research Group (BRG) together with Dr. Tom Van Mele, and founding partner of Ochsendorf DeJong & Block (ODB Engineering). Research at the BRG focuses on equilibrium analysis, computational form finding, optimisation and construction of curved surface structures, specialising in unreinforced masonry vaults and concrete shells. Within the NCCR, BRG researchers develop innovative structurally informed bespoke prefabrication strategies and novel construction paradigms employing digital and robotic fabrication. With BRG and ODB Engineering, Block applies his research into practice on the structural assessment of historic monuments and the design and engineering of novel compression structures. Philippe Block has been a principal investigator since the NCCR Digital Fabrication’s inception in 2014 and a member of its steering committee since 2015.

New Deputy Director Prof. Dr. Robert J. Flatt, ETH Professor for Materials Science
Robert J. Flatt has been with the NCCR Digital Fabrication as principal investigator and member of the research consortium’s steering committee since its foundation in the summer of 2014. He became professor for physical chemistry of building materials at the Institute of Building Materials of ETH Zurich in September 2010. Before he was Principal Scientist Head of Inorganic Materials in Corporate Research at Sika Technology AG. In Sika, Robert J. Flatt was responsible for the planning and execution of the long-term research agenda supporting development groups dedicated to construction materials. A major topic of interest to Robert J. Flatt concerns working mechanisms of concrete admixtures. In the NCCR, members of Robert J. Flatt’s research group focus on the investigation of digital concrete processing.

The NCCR Digital Fabrication thanks founding director Matthias Kohler for his great engagement and looks forward to continue its successful development under the new directiorship of Philippe Block and Robert Flatt.

Image (from left to right): Prof. Dr. Robert Flatt, new NCCR deputy director, Prof. Dr. Philippe Block, new NCCR director, and Prof. Matthias Kohler, founding director of the NCCR Digital Fabrication