Keynote speaker

Guillaume Habert

Keynote lecture title:

Prof. Dr. Guillaume Habert holds the Chair of Sustainable Construction and is associate professor at the ETH Zürich since August 2012. The objective of the chair is to identify the relevant parameters that influence the environmental impacts of buildings and infrastructures at international, national and regional levels in order to implement sustainable practices throughout the development of innovative constructive techniques adapted to the technical, economic and socio-cultural situation of specific territories.
He is, since 2013 partner of a large National Competence Centre on Digital fabrication in Switzerland involving 15 Professors and more than 30 PhDs in different disciplines from computational science, robotics to architecture. His main work has been to explore the potentials of digital fabrication for a more sustainable construction and identify the key drivers, which need to be considered in the early design phase of projects.


In the era of technological innovation and digital revolution, inadequate working conditions and high resource consumption are still common practice in the construction sector, a sector that requires a deep transformation to keep up with other industries in terms of environmental impacts and productivity. As a potential solution, the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies such as Additive Manufacturing (AM) in construction, promise to enhance the sustainability of the sector, resulting from improved productivity, efficiency, safety, collaboration, etc. In particular, the combination of computer-aided design and automated fabrication techniques for additive construction demonstrates the ability to produce complex architecture with optimized geometries and integrated multi-functionality. However, so far, few example are convincing and research trends are not necessarily focused on a sustainable digital fabrication  
The aim of this presentation is to identify the sustainability risks and opportunities associated with the implementation of digital fabrication in construction. This will lead us to identify the design parameters that influence the sustainable performance of digitally fabricated architecture and define guidelines for early design stages. Multifunctionality of digitally fabricated component is key to achieve better environmental performance as long as the life span of structure is considered. Finally Socio-economic consequences derived from the implementation of digital fabrication in the construction sector will also be discussed. While digital fabrication has the potential to improve productivity in the building industry, it will not necessarily reduce employment in the long run. It is expected that existing roles will evolve, mainly related to the human-robot interaction, and new roles requiring digital skills will be created. Moreover, the digitalization suggests an evolution of the conventional construction organization towards a platform-based integration of planning and construction phases.