New Cluster of Excellence: Integrative Computational Design and Construction for Architecture

New Cluster of Excellence

We are delighted to announce the success of our Cluster of Excellence proposal on “Integrative Computational Design and Construction for Architecture (IntCDC)” in the final round of the German Excellence Strategy. The aim of the Excellence Strategy is to strengthen Germany’s position as an outstanding place for research in the long term and further improve its international competitiveness. A Cluster of Excellence is the most significant and substantial grant by the German Research Foundation.

Our IntCDC Cluster of Excellence aims to harness the full potential of digital technologies to rethink design and construction based on integration and interdisciplinarity, with the goal to enable game-changing innovation in the building sector. The cluster’s 22 principal investigators represent the breadth of scientific excellence across seven faculties of the University of Stuttgart and the Max Plank Institute for Intelligent Systems. The cluster will be led by Achim Menges.

IntCDC: Integrative Computational Design and Construction for Architecture

Architecture is of central ecological, economic, social and cultural relevance. Humans spend 87% of their lives in buildings. The building industry already consumes more than 40% of global re-sources and energy, and the demand for space keeps increasing dramatically: over the next 35 years, urban buildings for an additional 2.6 billion people need to be constructed. In German cities alone, 400,000 new residential units and related commercial and public buildings are required every year. Yet, the productivity of the building industry has been stagnating for decades.

The detrimental environmental impact and lack of productivity coupled with the multifaceted relevance of architecture clearly indicates that we urgently need new approaches to design and construction. Digital technologies make it possible to address these challenges in novel ways. However, their adoption is very slow and typically only focused on isolated aspects of the building process due to the fragmented nature of the building industry and a compartmentalised research culture. Innovation is therefore currently limited to decoupled research insights and incremental advancements. The full potential of digital technologies remains underutilised.

The vision of this Cluster of Excellence is to harness the full potential of digital technologies to rethink design and construction based on integration and interdisciplinarity, with the goal of enabling game-changing innovation in the building sector. The Cluster aims to lay the methodological foundations to profoundly modernise the design and building process and related building systems by adopting a systematic, holistic and integrative computational approach. One key objective is to develop an overarching methodology of “co-designing” methods, processes and systems based on interdisciplinary research encompassing architecture, structural engineering, building physics, engineering geodesy, manufacturing and systems engineering, computer science and robotics, humanities and social sciences. The Cluster’s methodological insights and research findings are expected to uncover comprehensive approaches to utilising digital technologies that will help address the ecological, economic and social challenges, which current incremental approaches cannot solve. Thus, it will make a significant contribution to providing the prerequisites for a high-quality, liveable and sustainable built environment and a digital building culture. It will also strengthen Germany’s competitiveness in the largest global business sector.

The University of Stuttgart is uniquely positioned to take on these research challenges. It has a longstanding tradition and international visibility as a centre for innovation in architecture and building engineering, currently reflected in two DFG Collaborative Research Centres. This constitutes an exceptional position of research excellence in this domain in Germany and an ideal set-ting to establish a leading international role.


For more information about the Excellence Strategy, please view the links below:

Press Release University of Stuttgart: https://www.uni-stuttgart.de