Material Matters Conference - 2-3 April 2012, London


Profile: Manuel Kretzer

Manuel Kretzer is a Researcher and Educator at the CHAIR FOR COMPUTER AIDED ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN, ETH Zurich where he is responsible for the digital design and production modules. His research aims at the notion of a soft and responsive architecture with a specific focus on new (smart) material performance.

He has previously worked with Philip Beesley in Toronto, Canada on the development of interactive environments and taught seminars in experimental architecture at the Institut für industrielle Bauproduktion, University of Karlsruhe.

He studied architecture at the Universities of Dresden, South Australia and Karlsruhe where he received his Diploma in 2008 with distinction. His thesis project ‘The Cone’, a large-scale kinetic pavilion, was presented at the 2007 Burning Man event in Nevada. Since then he realized a number of sculptures and installations and has been granted several scholarships and awards.

An overview of his work can be found at and

TALK: materiability

This presentation looks closer at the role and use of building materials throughout the history of architecture and compares it to recent demographic studies on the demands and interests of young and future generations. Realizing that the attitude towards “smart” materials – which are entirely different to standard building materials, as they are active and not static – is still very much influenced by traditional ideas and methods, and that this stands in strong contrast to the very flexible and vibrant lifestyle of young people, this presentation proposes a different approach to create softer, more dynamic spaces to accommodate the needs of our future citizen.