The InnoChain ETN network is a shared research training environment examining how advances in digital design tools challenge building culture enabling sustainable, informed and materially smart design solutions.

The network aims to train a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers with a strong industry focus that can effect real changes in the way we think, design and build our physical environment. The programme investigates the extended digital chain as a particular opportunity for interdisciplinary design collaboration. Challenging the traditional thinking of design as a linear process of incremental refinement, InnoChain identifies three axes of design innovation potential communication, simulation and materialisation appearing as distributed and interdisciplinary activities across the design chain. Situating feedback between design processes as a key concern for developing holistic and integrated design methods, the network will develop new interdisciplinary design methods that integrate advanced simulation and interface with material fabrication.

With a strong inter-sector focus, InnoChain connects “research in practice” with “research in academia”. Assembling 6 internationally recognised academic research environments leading research into computational design in architecture and engineering and 13 innovation pioneering industry partners from architecture, engineering, design software development and fabrication, the programme will establish a shared training platform for 15 early stage researchers (ESRs). The network creates a structured training programme focused on supervision of individual research projects, an inter-sector secondment programme as well as collective research events including workshop-seminars, colloquia, summer school and research courses that provide a unique opportunity for young researchers to obtain new knowledge and skills positioning them between strong innovative research practice and influential industrial impact.


The Innochain First Year Colloquium and Research Exhibition “DESIGN PROBES” took place at ANGEWANDTE INNOVATION LABORATORY in Vienna on 7th and 8th of March.
A Pinnacle event within the Innochain Network, where all ESRS members presented and discussed their research and methodology in plenum with all Innochain beneficiaries and industry partners, in front of a international panel of invited scientists and experts : Prof. Mark Burry (University of Melbourne),Prof. Christoph Gengnagel (UdK Berlin)and Prof. Achim Menges (University of Stuttgart).
In the two evenings the events opened publicly with Keynotes, who opened up the research and gave a broader vision of the overall topic, and the opening of the Innochain exhibition “Design Probes”, which features the work of Innochain in its first 18 month. Working models were showing research process on the interface of architecture and engineering sciences.
The exhibition has been coordinated by Zeynep Aksoez, Efilena Baseta and Anja Jonkhans


The exhibition stand of InnoChain – 1st year Colloquium showcases the design probes and the panel-presentations of 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs). Considering the fact that the interdisciplinary researches have a strong focus on computational design, likewise the exhibition stand has been created by computational algorithms.

The design derives from a 3D grid (90x90x90 cm) of 90 points, which have been connected linearly by a single agent. Following a series of parameters such as proximity and total length a self-standing structure has been designed and subsequently structurally analysed using Karamba software.

The structure has been materialized by a metallic frame of 3×3 cm hollow cross section, made by soldering together 46 pieces of 90 cm length and 9 pieces of 1.8 cm length. There are 5 different types of pieces, based on the cut angle of their ends, which enables the forming of a linear 3D geometry. In order to complete the exhibition stand, 5 CNC milled pieces of 2.9 cm mdf have been placed horizontally on the metallic frame in order to host the prototypes of the ESRs and the A1 panels have been hanged from the highest parts of the metallic frame.


Communicating design
Current methods for communicating domain specific knowledge in building practice assume disciplinary separation and discretisation of design control.

ESR01 // Integrating isogeometric analysis, Evy Slabbinck ITKE | MCNEEL
ESR02 // Integrating material performance, Tom Svilans CITA | BLUMER LEHMANN, WHITE
ESR03 // Integrating building physics for performance control, Angelos Chronis IAAC | MCNEEL, FOSTER + PARTNERS
ESR04 // Multi-criteria optimisation in early design phase, Zeynep Aksoz IOA | STR.UCTURE, BIG
ESR05 // Alternate means to communicate measure, Dimitrie Stefanescu BSA | HENN GMBHù

Simulating for design
Current methods for simulation assume single scale engagement across separate phases and exclude the simulation of material and fabrication processes.

ESR06 // Multi scalar modelling for building design Paul Poinet, CITA | BURO HAPPOLD, DESIGNTOPRODUCTION
ESR07 // Simulating anisotropic material, Efilena Baseta IOA | CLOUD9, BLUMER LEHMANN
ESR08 // Virtual prototyping FRP, James Solly ITKE | S-FORM, FOSTER + PARTNERS
ESR09 // Simulating concrete formwork,Vasily Sitnikov KTH | BURO HAPPOLD
ESR10 // Simulating robotic feedback, Giulio Brugnaro BSA | BIG + ROK

Materialising design
Current methods for materialisation within the building industry are based on mass production. They rely on the standardisation of material and fabrication to afford control and optimise material use.

ESR11 // Concrete printing, Helena Westerlind KTH | WHITE
ESR1 // Material gradient FRP, Saman Saffarian ITKE | STR.UCTURE, S-FORM
ESR13 // Applied robotics – controlled material deposition, Arthur Prior BSA | FOSTER+PARTNERS, BURO HAPPOLD
ESR14 // Design for manufacture and assembly, Kasper Ax CITA |DESIGNTOPRODUCTION, BLUMER LEHMANN
ESR15 // Small scale robotic manufacturing for the large scale buildings, Stephanie Chaltiel IAAC | CLOUD 9, ROK-OFFICE

Design probes// InnoChain 1st year Colloquium Exhibition Stand
Angewandte Innovation Lab, Vienna, Austria
NOUMENA(Design and Video)
Institute of Applied arts of Vienna-Institute of Architecture (Construction)
Karamba (Structural Analysis)
Marieke Bravabuero (Poster)

The project has been realized within the framework of “InnoChain Training Network”, supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 642877.