1. Manuel Kretzer is Scientific Assistant and PhD candidate at the Chair for Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD), ETH Zürich where he is responsible for coordinating and leading the postgraduate Master of Advanced Studies class’s digital design, material and fabrication modules. His research aims at the notion of a soft and dynamic architecture with a specific focus on new (smart) material performance.
    In 2012 he initiated the materiability research network, an educational community platform on the potential of smart/ programmable materials in the field of architecture and design.
    He is also partner at responsive design studio, based in Zurich and Cologne. The strength of the team is rooted in design research and a commitment to exploring opportunities in creating responsive, adaptive and adapted physical space. A special interest lies on alternative solutions for vivid architectural geometries that interact with their user in the process of creation but also in the built shape, materialization, surface and visual behavior.
    He has previously worked with Philip Beesley (PBAi) in Toronto, Canada on the development and realization of interactive environments and taught seminars in temporary experimental architecture at the Institute for Industrial Design (ifib), University of Karlsruhe (TH).
    He studied architectural design at the Universities of Dresden, South Australia and Karlsruhe where he received his Diploma in Architecture with distinction. His thesis project ‘The Cone’, a kinetic pavilion, was presented at the 2007 Burning Man event in Nevada. Since then he has realized a number of sculptures and installations and has been granted several scholarships and awards.

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  2. responsivedesign.de / materiability.com

    Smart Materials, materials that have the ability to dynamically adjust their properties in response to changing environmental conditions, are gradually establishing themselves in the architectural world. The possibilities they encompass for the creation of adaptive spaces are manifold, highly intriguing and encouraging. However architects and designers, who are familiar with static materials or at most mechanical kinetics, are confused by their inherent dynamics that happen at an imperceptible scale. In most cases they focus primarily on the material’s visual properties or use them to enhance the performance of established systems within rigid structures.
    But once we let durability and efficiency become minor aspects of the investigation new, highly intriguing and inspirational perspectives can surface. Through an anarchic, unprejudiced and non-purposeful examination of certain materials, properties that were formerly ignored can be (re)discovered and emphasised. This talk will present a number of speculative installations that emerged from the materiability research at the Chair for CAAD. The installations are composed of (self-made) smart material assemblies each highlighting different aspects and themes. Surprisingly similar to the definition of an organism, which is capable of responding to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homeostasis as a stable whole, recurring motives were “motion”, “immateriality”, “autonomy” and “ecology”.

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  3. Information technology is printing technology. Once conceived, it is reproducible at leisure, like a newspaper. For this reason it grows omnipresent so quickly, unlike any mechanical system. And for this reason, we notice a rhizomic net that gets rapidly tighter across the world, in which information—whatever that may be—dashes as electromagnetical phenomena around our planet with near light-speed. A net that is the substrate not only for instabilities, but likewise for new stabilities that have increasingly begun to replace old order systems. Whereas our forbears cultivated the land under the rhythms of the sun, and along the sun’s reflections built cities, today we are relinquishing more and more our familiar and secure territories and must learn to articulate what we find valuable.


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  4. Due to climate change that is largely human induced we have been observing changes in our global weather patterns with severe consequences for our society, economies, and the environment. Our cities and buildings in particular will have to respond to more frequent extreme weather events such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, heavy or freezing rain, heavy snowfalls, high wind speeds, temperature extremes, or hurricanes. It is of great importance that our built environment is able to respond to these changes in global weather patterns and the environment.
    Nanotechnology has afforded us insights into the workings of matter at the scale of molecules and allows us to act on this newly gained knowledge. We can now develop materials with specific properties that can facilitate a response to the dynamic changes in the environment. This will be instrumental in discovering new solutions to the pressing issues of climate change and enable an architectural adaptation.


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  5. As Information Era Technologies and their impacts on architecture change, their relationship calls for new or adapted concepts, where the emerging pattern language of electronic connections tie in seamlessly with the language of physical connections.
    The informational and technological advances in communications present new design ideas and bottom-up processes where importance is not final aesthetics or final accountancies but rather than data and information that prepare the ground for the birth of efficient and in-formed architecture of cities, buildings and manufacturing processes.
    IAAC research projects seek to rethink the [form] of “habitats” bringing forward fundamental concepts of design systems related to real time data and information. Internet of Cities, Public space that interact with the users and flows, Buildings which form follow energy, Materials responding to body data and new Fabrication processes are some of the projects that will be presented in the talk as examples of adaptive architecture applications.


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Alive 2013 International Symposium on Adaptive Architecture



The relationship between architecture and nature, built form and living systems, anthropogenic construction and organic evolution is one of the most crucial aspects one has to consider when spatially designing.…

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The relationship between architecture and nature, built form and living systems, anthropogenic construction and organic evolution is one of the most crucial aspects one has to consider when spatially designing. This not only applies to strategies on environmental responsibility but equally on anticipatory human behaviour, transient occupation and cultural or demographic variety.

While generations of architects have argued whether architecture should rather be distinctive from nature in its manifestation and function or if a harmonic unification, integration and correlation of the two is to be preferred, we’re today facing challenges that seem far too complex, unpredictable and variegated as to be solved through such a simplistic approach.

At the same time we’re experiencing technological advancements at a pace formerly unknown, the conglomeration of scientific disciplines and consequently the emergence of new areas of research, but also the empowering, anarchic and self-dynamic aspects of open source, community driven development or the exponential spread of information through social networks and the alike.

In order to keep up with these changes proposes to embrace the unknown and cultivate the architectural discipline towards an integrated, co-operative and cross-disciplinary practice that responds to natural evolution through more than formally adapting it.

This symposium highlights a number of approaches of leading international practitioners and researchers who investigate novel interrelations between architecture, nature and humanity for a future, alive architecture.

Drawing on three key paradigms the event is consequently organised into three session:

Session One: Printed Physics / Programmed Matter
The ability to design material properties at a nano scale and construct them so they are dynamic, active and responsive to environmental conditions questions our current attitude towards materiality and demands a fundamental rethinking.

Session Two: Bio-inspiration / Sustainability
Learning from nature means much more than aestheticising its formal expression. Sensitive observation of biological systems and investigations that go beyond functional thinking can lead to unconventional solutions and possibilities.

Session Three: Interaction / Behaviour / Intelligence
With smart devices that seamlessly integrate into buildings and whose capabilities and performance is steadily increasing, concepts that exceed pure control and automation mechanisms but rather evolve and adapt dynamically are essential.

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