Official opening of ETH centre “Design++” with the participation of Basler & Hofmann


On Thursday, 27 May, ETH Zurich successfully opened its new research centre “Design++”. The centre aims to develop new computer-aided design methods in the fields of architecture and civil engineering. Its focus is on new technologies in extended reality (XR) and artificial intelligence (AI). Basler & Hofmann contributes to the new centre as a strategic partner through a generous donation.

As part of the online opening, Dominik Courtin, chairman of the Executive Board of Basler & Hofmann, and Dr Konrad Basler, chairman of the charitable Basler & Hofmann Foundation, talked about Basler & Hofmann’s motives for the donation in a video message broadcast to the more than 400 participants from research and business. The donation from Basler & Hofmann over the next six years to the ETH Foundation will primarily go towards the new establishment of a professorship for “Augmented Computational Design”.

Exploiting the potential of digitalisation through interdisciplinary cooperation

The new research centre stands out for its interdisciplinary approach: The centre is designed to help make this a reality by connecting the worlds of architecture, civil engineering, construction and computer science. In his opening words, Dominik Courtin emphasised the importance of breaking down barriers: “Our company is home to over 30 disciplines. It is our own experience that has taught us that if we want to utilise the benefits of new digital technologies, we will first have to take down existing barriers. This is why we are so enthusiastic about the interdisciplinary approach of Design++.”

A look inside the new Immersive Design Lab

During the opening, the participating researchers from ETH Zurich also offered a first look at the Immersive Design Lab. The new lab is a central research infrastructure of Design++. It will be used for complex visualisations and acoustic simulations on the basis of interactive extended reality. For example, several researchers can work simultaneously on a computational design model using gestures and voice commands, tour a construction project in virtual reality (VR) or create immersive spatial impressions with Ambisonics.


Video about Design++ and the new Immersive Design Lab

Website of the Design++ centre

ETH News on the new centre