New Building has an exciting and challenging task. Through automation and BIM, manufacturers can offer more and more tailor-made products and materials. The (recycled) raw materials of all manufactured elements will be included in a material passport, an important step in the circular economy.


Clients of houses, offices, hospitals, schools, stores, bridges and tunnels, and other buildings are faced with stricter environmental regulations through the raw materials agreement and wish to use circular materials, such as biobased or recycled materials, more often. Reducing the amount of fossil fuels used in production, transport, and use is increasingly important, as well as reducing the amount of materials used, and constructions that are safe during a fire or natural disaster.


Digital production techniques bring a completely new visual language, and 3D printing, CNC milling, and the use of robots for customised production are even starting to become mainstream. Smart materials that generate energy, are low-maintenance, ensure self-healing and self-cleaning constructions, and are interactive and communicative with built-in sensors: they are all ways to increase the comfort, convenience and safety of the user and their environment.


Our Architecture-ambassador

Ulrich Knaack

Professor Design of Construction at Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), professor Façade Technology at TU Darmstadt (Germany)

Professor Ulrich Knaack was trained as an architect at the RWTH Aachen (Germany). After earning his degree, he worked at the university as researcher in the field of structural use of glass and completed his studies with a PhD.


In his professional career, Knaack worked as architect and general planner in Düsseldorf (Germany). He also worked as professor for Design and Construction at the Hochschule OWL (Germany) and currently works as professor for Design of Construction at the Delft University of Technology at the Faculty of Architecture (Netherlands), where he developed the Façade Research Group. In parallel, he is professor for Façade Technology at the TU Darmstadt at the Faculty of Civil engineering (Germany) where he participates in the Institute of Structural Mechanics + Design.


Knaack organises interdisciplinary design-workshops and symposia about fronts and is the author of various reference works, articles and lectures.



Special items

Several large exhibition pieces – often never shown to the public before – were exhibited during the trade fair, showing the visitor a glimpse of the future. What was shown?

3D-printed, reinforced beam

Deze 3D-geprinte, versterkte balk is onderdeel van een lopend onderzoek naar 3D-geprinte bouwcomponenten door het departement Digital Building Technologies aan de ETH Zurich. De tweezijdige uitkragende balken zijn tot 4,5 meter lang en gemaakt van zandsteen. De balken worden gefabriceerd door ‘binder-jetting’, een 3D-printtechniek waarbij poeder op bepaalde plaatsen wordt verbonden door bindmiddel om een object te creëren. De losse geprinte elementen worden met elkaar verbonden met speciaal ontworpen verbindingen, zodat de balk één geheel wordt.

3D-printed ceramic vault shading system

Hexashade, developed by Advanced Ceramics R&D Laboratory, proposes a 3D printed ceramic vault shading system focusing on the design and production of fully customised architectural ceramic components. Entirely conceived in digital environment, based on the discretisation of vault structures on hexagonal blocks, this system intends to control solar incidence by its adaptive inner structure. Using a computational model and weather data of the place, every block is adapted by its relative position in the set, making it more or less permeable depending on the space/time ratio that needs to be shaded.

3D-printed concrete construction elements

The construction element, designed at the Technical University Munich, was additively manufactured (AM) layer by layer using a selective binding technique, the so-called selective cement activation method. The solid was built by spreading layers of dry particles (a mix of cement and aggregate), which were locally bonded by an aqueous binder. In this case, expanded glass was used as aggregate. This object was produced to demonstrate the high geometric freedom in design and high resolution which can be achieved by this AM method. The dimension of the object is about (L x W x H) 570 mm x 300 mm x 390 mm with a layer height of 2 mm.

Speakers programme

Material Xperience is known for its high-profile speaker programme, which includes renowned (inter)national architects, scientists, designers and other experts.


Wednesday morning 14 March, the speaker programme “The Future of Architecture” took place in the Material Xperience theatre. Speakers were Ulrich Knaack (Professor Design of Construction at Delft University of Technology), Lisa Rammig (EOC London), Kasper Guldager Jensen(architect MAA), and Ana Maria Anton (ETH Zurich), amongst others.


Visit the programme page for more information.

Materials from the independent MaterialDistrict Collection

During this three-day event, MaterialDistrict showed the newest materials from its independet collection, which were scouted during year before the exhibition. A small selection of materials:

I-MESH (PLA1051)

I-MESH is a composite materials that filters, balances and diffuses light. The panels are custom made from yarn of, amongst others, carbon fibre, fibre glass, Zylon, Technora and basalt. It is sustainable, recyclable, noise-absorbing, insulating, non-combustible, and it guarantees energy saving.

Lumiscopic (PLA1102)

Lumiscopic is a dichroic foil that can be applied to materials such as glass, acrylic or plastic. The colou of the material depends on the viewing angle, varying from warm to cool colours.

ZEP solar cell roof tile (CER214)

The ZEP solar cell roof tile is a ceramic, traditional looking roof tile in which a solar collector has been integrated. from a distance, you can hardly see the solar cells, giving the roof a ‘normal’ look, while still generating green energy.