Computational Fiber Architecture: Co-Design of large-scale, load-adapted fiber composite building components

2021 - ongoing | Doctoral Research

Christoph Zechmeister

Computational Fiber Architecture

Co-Design of large-scale, load-adapted fiber composite building components for robotic pre-fabrication

Architecture, engineering, and construction are facing severe challenges to provide a liveable and affordable environment given current demographic and environmental developments. Digital technologies provide promising solutions, disrupting the way to design, construct, and experience physical space. Their implementation demands a rethink of design, evaluation, and materialization to leverage material capacities propelled by computational design and numerical manufacturing. Coreless filament winding extends industrial processes to produce lightweight, material-efficient building parts with minimal formwork. However, it creates additional complexity for design and engineering, as it derives its formative capacity from interacting fiber rovings. 

This research presents a consolidated methodology to co-design coreless wound fiber composite building components for robotic prefabrication based on four main methods. Concurrent design and evaluation of fiber components are investigated using a feedback-based computational method and implemented using multi-scalar digital-physical design and evaluation toolsets. To increase sustainability, methods and toolsets are extended allowing for the replacement of petrochemical materials with bio-based alternatives. To implement the methods at a larger scale, a computational co-design framework is introduced, reconsidering team compositions and integrating interdisciplinary experts deep into design and evaluation workflows. As Co-design relies on the concurrent evolution of involved disciplines, a method for classifying and generating reciprocal feedback between computational design, engineering, and fabrication is developed. Interdisciplinary data sets are analyzed and interrelated to increase process reliability, enable future reduction of material safety factors, and further increase material efficiency and sustainability.

The methods are demonstrated by three full-scale building demonstrators, exhibiting different fibrous building systems. The BUGA Fiber Pavilion, Maison Fibre, and the livMatS Pavilion illustrate how concurrent multidisciplinary innovation challenges conventional ways of design and materialization. Computation acts as an interface between digital and physical realms, and material capacities become primary drivers in the generation of architectural form, paving the way for sustainable, material-efficient computational fiber architecture.


ICD Institute for Computational Design and Construction, University of Stuttgart

Christoph Zechmeister, Prof. Achim Menges


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) under Germany’s Excellence Strategy – EXC 2120/1–390831618 (Research Projects 14-1, 12-2)


Zechmeister, C., Gil Pérez, M., Knippers, J., & Menges, A. (2023). Concurrent, computational design and modelling of structural, coreless-wound building components. Automation in Construction, 151, 104889. DOI: 10.1016/j.autcon.2023.104889

Zechmeister, C.; Gil Pérez, M.; Dambrosio, N.; Knippers, J.; Menges, A. (2023). Extension of Computational Co-Design Methods for Modular, Prefabricated Composite Building Components Using Bio-Based Material Systems. Sustainability 2023, 15, 12189. DOI: 10.3390/su151612189

Gil Pérez, M., Zechmeister, C., Kannenberg, F., Mindermann, P., Balangé, L., Guo, Y., Hügle, S., Gienger, A., Forster, D., Bischoff, M., Tarín, C., Middendorf, P., Schwieger, V., Gresser, G. T., Menges, A., Knippers, J. (2022), Computational co-design framework for coreless wound fibre-polymer composite structures. Journal of Computational Design and Engineering 9 (2), pp. 310-329. DOI: 10.1093/jcde/qwab081

Gil Pérez, M., Mindermann, P., Zechmeister, C., Forster, D., Guo, Y., Hügle, S., Kannenberg, F., Balangé, L., Schwieger, V., Middendorf, P., Bischoff, M., Menges, A., Gresser, G. T., Knippers, J. (2023). Data processing, analysis, and evaluation methods for codesign of coreless filament-wound building systems. Journal of Computational Design and Engineering, qwad064, 2288-5048. DOI: 10.1093/jcde/qwad064

Zechmeister, C., Bodea, S., Dambrosio, N., Menges, A. (2020). Design for Long-Span Core-Less Wound, Structural Composite Building Elements. In: Gengnagel, C., Baverel, O., Burry, J., Ramsgaard Thomsen, M., Weinzierl, S. (eds) Impact: Design With All Senses. DMSB 2019. Springer, Cham. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-29829-6_32

Bodea, S., Zechmeister, C., Dambrosio, N., Dörstelmann, M., Menges, A. (2021). Robotic coreless filament winding for hyperboloid tubular composite components in construction. Automation in Construction, Vol. 126, 103649, DOI: 10.1016/j.autcon.2021.103649

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This image shows Christoph Zechmeister

Christoph Zechmeister

Dipl.-Ing., MAS ETH AI

Research Group Leader | Computational Fibre Architecture

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