PhD position in Large-Scale Robotic 3D Printing of Facades 100%, Zurich, fixed-term

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The research group Digital Building Technologies, situated at the Institute of Technology in Architecture (ITA), Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich, seeks a highly motivated PhD candidate to work on the development of a large-scale robotic 3D printing process for facades.

Project background

This PhD research project is situated at the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research Digital Fabrication (NCCR DFAB) – an interdisciplinary research program that aims at fostering a digital building culture and development of innovative design methods and construction technologies for architecture, engineering, and construction.

Building upon the ongoing project Integrative Façade Systems within the NCCR DFAB, this project concerns a hybrid lightweight facade system composed of structural timber elements and 3D-printed facade components, which is fully disassemblable and/or made of recyclable parts and materials. The doctoral thesis will be pursued in collaboration with research colleagues from other groups at ETH Zurich and HSLU specializing in the facade’s environmental performance assessment, architectural design and fabrication integration. The project will start upon mutual agreement, earliest by October 1st, 2022.

Job description

Within this interdisciplinary endeavour, you will co-develop methods to robotically 3D print large-scale performative 3DP facade elements. The project involves the development of custom print path control and hardware adaption for a novel macro polymer pellet extrusion approach. Your research will encompass automatic data generation for 3DP, the development of print-path strategies, and large-scale prototyping. Your work will entail the development of software tools and hardware adaptation, as well as physical experiments, and large-scale prototyping. The project aims to culminate in a large-scale demonstrator to be fabricated in the Robotic Fabrication Laboratory (RFL) at ETH Hönggerberg.

Your profile

We are looking for you – a talented and motivated architect, designer, or engineer with design and research experience and outstanding skills in computational design, 3D printing, and robotic fabrication, as well as an interest in hardware development. We expect programming experience (e.g. Python or C#) and hands-on experience with tool development, polymer 3D printing, as well as architectural skills. You must enjoy research through coding, physical prototyping, and design.

You should be fluent in English, demonstrate a high level of initiative and independence, and enjoy working in a diverse and interdisciplinary research team. Applicants must hold a Master’s degree acquired at the university level (equivalent to the FHEQ-Level 7) in architecture or related fields.

Your workplace

We offer

Working at our research group and within the NCCR DFAB offers:

  • High-profile research projects in the field of robotic manufacturing and computational design
  • Collaborative, interdisciplinary research environment
  • A rewarding, inspiring working environment with a flat hierarchy, and open culture in a diverse and international team
  • Unique large-scale robotic fabrication laboratory with excellent hardware equipment and technical support
  • Flexible working hours, part-time home office availability
  • Training opportunities and access to support programs (e.g. mentoring) and networks, opening perspectives for career development

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We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application containing the following documents:

  • Letter of motivation
  • CV
  • Portfolio of your work in academia and practice
  • Contact details of at least two references

Please apply exclusively via the ONLINE APPLICATION PORTAL.

Applications sent by e-mail or postal services will not be considered. To learn more about us, please visit the websites and

Questions regarding the position can be directed to Mario Guala, (no applications).