The DFAB HOUSE is a three-floor home and sits atop the NEST research and innovation building of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) and the Swiss water research institute Eawag in Dübendorf. A delicate concrete ceiling – cast in 3D-printed formwork – and a curved concrete wall created by a construction robot characterize the architecture of the living room.
According to a press release from Empa, the DFAB HOUSE is the world’s first inhabited house that was not only planned with digital processes but also mainly built digitally. Researchers from eight professorships at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) collaborated with industrial partners to transfer several novel digital construction technologies from the laboratory into real-world applications for the first time. For example, the digitally planned floor slab is statically and structurally optimized in such a way that considerable amounts of material can be saved compared to a conventional concrete slab. These technologies also open up new design possibilities: the two upper residential floors feature wooden frames, which were fabricated with the help of two construction robots and arranged in complex geometries.
Thanks to a consortium of companies led by digitalSTROM AG from Schlieren ZH, the house is also intelligent. Several smart home solutions were installed, based on the manufacturer-independent digitalSTROM platform. These include intelligent, multi-stage burglar protection, automated glare and shading options as well as the latest generation of networked, intelligent household appliances. On saying a specific command, the kettle boils water for tea, for example.
The first residents – academic guests from Empa and Eawag – will move into the DFAB HOUSE in around two months’ time. They will try out the innovative technologies for digital control and communication