Digital Architectonics: A Symbiosis of Bricks and Bytes

A new paradigm shift is underway in architecture. Join us to hear how digital technologies are revolutionizing the field – and how ETH Zurich and Southeast University are joining forces to start this new chapter.

Architecture has always been a discipline keen on stretching its boundaries, seamlessly molding together art with cutting-edge technologies. Think of the pointed arches in Gothic cathedrals, which allowed for the construction of elongated windows flooding the inside with light (an attempt at imitating Jerusalem, the city of God). Or think of the sprawling halls and palaces in the Forbidden City using their width rather than their height to give the impression of an all-embracing Chinese empire.

All of these innovations have manifested themselves in the physical realm. With the arrival of the Information Age attempts have been made to draw upon the digital realm as well and use technologies such as Big Data and AI to further empower and inspire architecture. These digital technologies open up fundamentally new approaches to architecture. They allow for the integration of previously separated sub-disciplines such as built environment, functional space and means of construction, culminating in a symbiosis of these disciplines.

Prof. Dr. Ludger Hovestadt, Institute for Technology in Architecture, ETH Zurich, will start the webinar by elaborating on the enormous possibilities brought about by incorporating digital technologies. Moreover, he will talk about the collaboration between ETH Zurich School of Architecture and the School of Architecture of Southeast University (SEU Arch). The two schools have maintained 30 years of academic exchange and, more recently, have ventured together into the new world of architectural digital technology. 2004 marked the foundation of the Institute of Architectural Algorithms & Applications which has since become one of the most prestigious research centers of digital technology in architecture in China.

Prof. Dr. Biao Li, Director, Institute of Architectural Algorithms and Applications, School of Architecture at Southeast University, will discuss this joint-project from his perspective and highlight why and how digital technologies can bring about a paradigm-shift in architecture. Having worked on numerous projects, he will draw on many years of practical experience and be able to provide deep and valuable insights into the topic.

Event Rundown

16:00-16:10              Introduction

(Prof. Dr. Peng Tang – Deputy Director, Institute of Architectural Algorithms and Applications, School of Architecture, Southeast University)


16:10-16:30              Keynote presentation

(Prof. Dr. Ludger Hovestadt – Professor of architecture and CAAD, Institute for Technology in Architecture, ETH Zurich)


16:30-16:50             Into the Digital Age, Together

(Prof. Dr. Biao Li – Director, Institute of Architectural Algorithms and Applications, School of Architecture, Southeast University)


16:50-17:00             Q&A


In collaboration with

Connected Series

The Connected Series is a new format at Swissnex in China putting a spotlight on the best Sino-Swiss collaboration projects and research efforts. It highlights how teams from both countries can best work together to create synergies and get their projects off the ground.