A collective design, planning and communication platform

A Cross-Departmental Network for the Innovative Integration of New Technologies into Academic Teaching. Project management:
Kerstin Hoeger, Prof. Maia Engeli, Architecture + CAAD (CAAD) ETH Zurich. Projekt partners: Center for Product Development (ZPE), the Institute of Work and Organizational Psychology (IfAP), and the Institute of Hygiene and Applied Physiology (IHA) at ETH Zurich. Project members: Chair of Architecture and CAAD (Prof. Maia Engeli et al.), Chair of Architecture and Urban Design (Prof. Franz Oswald et al.), Chair of Architecture and Design (Prof. Adrian Meyer et al.), Chair of Architecture and Construction (Prof. Andrea Deplazes et al.), Pharmaceutical Chemistry Group (Prof. Gerd Folkers et al.), Center for Product Development (Prof. Markus Meier et al.), Chair of Computer Science for Manufacturing (Prof. Veronika Hrdliczka et al). Financing:FILEP, ETH Zurich, 1999-2000.

The main goal of the Build-It TN was to encourage professors to creatively explore and integrate new technologies into their teaching. Via a cross-departmental network, innovative learning scenarios were developed, using the Build-It System in disciplines as diverse as Architectural Design, Urban Planning, Applied Biosciences, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Management and Manufacturing.
Build-It is a design, planning and presentation system that allows for simultaneous computer-mediated teamwork and for intuitive ways of human-computer interaction. A virtual 3D scene is projected onto a vertical screen and simultaneously onto a table, where the interaction among the users and with the computer takes place. Interaction handlers are up to 30 tangible physical bricks, with which users can simultaneously select and manipulate virtual elements. Each change of the common work is immediately visible. In a highly interactive process many compositions can be generated and analyzed.
In the development of the Build-It scenarios, a shared webbased environment enhanced and sustained the communication and information exchange among the professors, the students and the project team, allowing multidisciplinary relationships to take place.
An in-depth evaluation accompanied
the development of the network, the feasibility and quality of the scenarios, the usability of the Build-it system and the online environment. Inspired from a broad palette of ideas, the Build-It TN facilitated synergies and the exchange of knowledge between different disciplines. New fields of use for Build-It as well as new strategies for the effective and sustainable integration of novel technologies into the curriculum were gained.

Scenario Urban Design: Development of protoforms and transformation via scaling, copying, morphing, distorting and so on. Group work: Delaminated Field.

Scenario Architectural Design: Design of an abstract spatial composition. Group work: Dreambox.

Scenario Pharmaceutical Chemistry: 3D generation and analysis of Molecular Interaction.

Scenario Mechanical and Process Engineering: Planning of a layout for a packaging production system in a given factory.

Scenario Industrial Management and Manufacturing:
Simulations and visual analysis in production and logistics.

Scenario Urban-architectural Design: Form generation and evaluation for a fictitious and substantial extensions of the Zurichberg-Ensemble (ETH, University and Hospital) with emphasis on its silhouette.

Build-It TN Online Platform:


Hoeger, Kerstin. Build-It Interface Scenarios. In: Interface Theory, Anomalie 3, Paris, June 2003
Hoeger, Kerstin, Marcia Pereira. Build-It Creative. In: Architecture Yearbook. ETH Zürich, 2002
Höger, Kerstin. Build-It Competition: Collaborative Design with New Interface Technologies.  In: Engeli, M. (ed.), bits and spaces: Architecture and Computing for the Virtual, Physical, Hybrid Realm; 33 Projects by Architecture and CAAD ETH Zurich. Birkhäuser: Basel, Boston, Berlin, 2001
Lauche, Kristina, Kerstin Höger. Collective Design - Exploring New Interface Technologies. In Proc.: ICED 01 – 13th International Conference on Engineering Design. Glasgow, 2001

, Final Presentation, ETH Zürich, July 2001
NET 2001, Teaching with New Media, ETH Zurich, November 2001