Material Culture - Maison Fibre

2020-2021 | Research Projects
Funding Body

Institute for Computational Design and Construction (Prof. Achim Menges)
ITKE Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (Prof. Jan Knippers)

Material Culture - Maison Fibre

Material Culture - Rethinking the physical substrate for living together
17th Internnational Archtecture Exhibition 2021 "How will we live together", La Biennale, Venice

MATERIAL CHALLENGE: We spend 87% of our lives in buildings. The material substance of architecture provides the physical substrate on which we live together.

Yet, the materialization of buildings faces severe challenges. Per capita consumption of structural materials has risen fivefold over the last century. Construction has become the most materially intense human activity, with a highly detrimental environmental footprint. Moreover, the UN predicts a huge need for new buildings, but the way we build continues to be technologically backward, with construction methods and material systems remaining essentially pre-digital. Architecture as a material practice struggles to address these issues – on a technical and socio-cultural level. There is an urgent need for rethinking.

MATERIAL CULTURE, a concept used in archeology and social science, refers to aspects of social reality grounded in the material objects and architecture of a community or era. We will employ this notion to speculate on material culture in architecture as an essential component of how we will live together, at the scale of the household and building.

We aim to unfold our body of research on rethinking materialization and materiality in architecture along a large-scale material installation that is new and site-specific to the Biennale. In direct response to the household subtheme, we envision an inhabitable material installation that speculates truly digital building systems and tests radically new ways of fibrous construction, a kind of “Maison Fibre” for the 21st century. This will allow visitors to explore novel, finely articulated, fibrous tectonics, which reduce the weight footprint of architecture fiftyfold compared to Le Corbusier’s role model for the 20th century! Most importantly, it will provide a strong spatial and tactile experience, and architecturally engage a material culture that is at the same time efficient and expressive, ecological and evocative.

The centerpiece installation will be complemented by two further exhibits. They provide for a rich reading of the presented research by offering further perspectives on materialization and materiality.


ICD Institute for Computational Design and Construction, University of Stuttgart
Niccolo Dambrosio, Rebeca Duque, Fabian Kannenberg, Katja Rinderspacher, Christoph Schlopschnat, Christoph Zechmeister, Prof. A. Menges

ITKE Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design, IntCDC - University of Stuttgart
Nikolas Früh, Marta Gil Pérez, Riccardo La Magna, Prof. Jan Knippers

Student Assistance: Vanessa Costalonga Martins, Sacha Cutajar, Christo van der Hoven

In collaboration with:
FibR GmbH, Stuttgart
Moritz Dörstelmann, Ondrej Kyjanek, Philipp Essers, Philipp Gülke
with support of: Erik Zanetti, Prateek Bajpai, Konstantinos Doumanis



University of Stuttgart

Cluster of Excellence IntCDC, EXC 2120

Ministry of Science, Research and Arts, Baden-Württemberg


Contact information


Institute for Computational Design and Construction

University of Stuttgart, Keplerstraße 11, 70174 Stuttgart

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