Basser Seminar Series

Future Cities Laboratory – Simulation Platform

Speaker: Prof Dr Gerhard Schmitt
ETH Zürich

Time: Friday 25 November 2011, 3:00-4:30pm
Refreshments will be available from 2:30pm
Location: The University of Sydney, School of IT Building, Lecture Theatre (Room 123), Level 1

Add seminar to my diary


ETH Zürich has founded the Future Cities Laboratory as part of the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability. The Laboratory’s goal is the design of new and the transformation of existing urban-rural systems towards integrated sustainability. The Future Cities Laboratory conducts research at the building, city quarter, and territorial planning scale with 9 modules focusing on people, energy, digital fabrication, material, water, landscape, transportation, territorial organisation and simulation.

In science, simulation has assumed a critical role between theory and practical experiment. In architecture, the use of simulation to support processes connecting design, construction, facility management, and building lifecycles is increasing. In urban planning, simulation has become an indispensable method for generating and analysing design and planning scenarios. Simulation not only helps in understanding urban-rural metabolism with its associated stocks and flows, but also supports design and decision-making processes in a crucial way. The presentation will introduce the newest methods and instruments in urban simulation.

Speaker's biography

Gerhard Schmitt is Professor for Information Architecture at ETH Zürich, Director of the Singapore-ETH Centre in Singapore, and ETH Zürich Senior Vice President for International Institutional Affairs.

Since 2006, Gerhard Schmitt concentrates on the definition and design of Information Architecture (IA) as the next level of Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD). The creation of a simulation, visualization and interaction platform for Future Cities is at the centre of his research. Gerhard Schmitt established the CAAD curriculum and research program since 1988 when he became Professor at ETH Zürich. His courses included design computing and programming, collaborative and shared authorship design, and global virtual design studios. His research focused on the development of intelligent design support systems, using artificial intelligence methods. He was instrumental in the definition of the Blue-C research project at ETH, a next generation Virtual Reality Environment.

From 1998-2008 he served as Vice President for Planning and Logistics and Member of the Board of ETH Zürich. He directed the development of ETH’s strategy and planning in cooperation with the 16 scientific departments and the central administration. He was also responsible for Human Resources, for departmental budgeting and for providing the infrastructure for ETH’s 8’800 employees and 13’900 students in more than 200 buildings on two major campuses.

In 2000, he initiated the development of a third, virtual campus, named ETH World with an international master plan competition. In 2003, he devised the concept for Science City, ETH’s new campus in Zürich; in 2004, he initiated the development of the master plan; in 2006, an international competition for the best integrated urban scale sustainability concept; and in 2007, the energy concept to reduce CO2 output by 50% in 10 years.

From 1984 to 1988 he pursued CAAD research and teaching at Carnegie Mellon University. He was Visiting Professor at the GSD at Harvard University in 1993 and 1994, at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, at DTU, the Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby and at the Technical University of Delft. His main academic contacts are in Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, National University of Singapore, Sydney University and EPF Lausanne.

From 1994-1996 he was Dean of the Faculty and Department of Architecture at ETH, president of ETH’s Informatics Commission 1989-1997, President of the Swiss Computer Graphics association 1996-1998, Vice President of the Board of the HMT, the Zürich Academy for Music, Theater and Ballet, President of the Foundation Board of the Studienzentrum Pfäffikon, a distance learning university institute, President of the Scientific Advisory Board of Distance Learning Switzerland FS-CH, and Chairman of the Visiting Committee of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University 2004-2007. He received the European Culture of Science Award for ETH Science City in 2010.