A large number of new buildings are being constructed worldwide. At the same time, the construction sector is responsible for a significant part of the waste produced and the global energy- and process-related CO2 emissions. Now the German Research Foundation (DFG) has awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2023 to Prof. Achim Menges, head of the Institute for Computer-Based Design and Building Production at the University of Stuttgart. The award is endowed with 2.5 million euros and is considered the most important research prize in Germany. Menges is being honoured for his interdisciplinary research on digital planning methods and robotic manufacturing processes for the construction industry, which make building more resource-efficient and sustainable. The aim of the construction methods researched by Menges is “to be able to build much faster in the future with much less material and at the same time to understand this as an opportunity for architecture that is worth living in and of high quality”. This is achieved through “robotically wound, long-span, extremely material-efficient fibre structures, digitally manufactured lightweight timber construction systems that are adaptable to different building tasks and 3D-printed adaptive façade elements that do not require any mechatronics or operating energy”.
Achim Menges, born in Mannheim in 1975, studied architecture at the TU Darmstadt and at the Architectural Association in London. Since 2008 he has held a professorship at the University of Stuttgart, where he founded the Institute for Computer-Based Design in 2009. Within this framework, he developed a research activity on digital planning methods and robotic manufacturing processes that was unique at the time. From 2009 to 2015, Menges was a parallel visiting professor at Harvard University. In 2013, he co-founded the interdisciplinary master’s programme “Integrative Technologies and Architectural Design Research” (ITECH). Since 2019, he has been the spokesperson for the only cluster of excellence in the field of architecture and construction in Germany, “Integrative Computer-based Design and Construction for Architecture” (IntCDC).
“We warmly congratulate Professor Achim Menges on the prestigious Leibniz Prize and are very proud to have such an outstanding pioneer of architecture at our university,” said Prof. Wolfram Ressel, Rector of the University of Stuttgart. “With his work, Achim Menges lives our vision of ‘Intelligent Systems for a Sustainable Society’ in architecture and construction. In his research into novel, sustainable construction methods, he takes an interdisciplinary approach and has built a multitude of bridges to other disciplines, which are bundled in our Cluster of Excellence ‘Integrative Computer-Based Design and Construction for Architecture’ (IntCDC). Without Achim Menges, IntCDC would not exist.”
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