The Story and Philosophy of 3DLAB

3DLAB is a facility located on the roof of the D-ARCH buiding which hosts 90 3D-Printing machines available to all qualifying students

The Lab was founded and is being run by Jonathan Benhamu at the HYTAC unit at the Department of Architecture as a bottom up initiative that envisioned bringing emerging technologies to the heart of the architectural design process.

Since 3D Printing has been gaining widespread mainstream presence, it was fitted to develop specific ways in which architects can make use of this technology. During a 15-month period the methods and practices were developed in conjunction with the planning of the lab itself to accommodate its sustainable use.

The 3DLAB Help Desk emerged as a response to the sometimes demanding machines as a direct point of contact where students with the know-how, can help students that are just starting to use the machines, not only for the  mechanics of the machines themselves, but also in what the best practices for preparing the files to be printed are.

The Lab was made possible thanks to a coalition of entities and people who, excited by the possibilities of this technical innovation, overcame financial, political, and logistics hurdles to make it happen.

We proudly present the entities which made the 3DLAB a reality:

ETH Zürich

As an innovating institution, the ETH Zürich financed the physical lab not only by pure economic means but also with the manpower of different departments like Immobilien and Security to attain the highest levels of safety for both staff and students.


Encouraging scientific and technological progress and improving the urban environment by supporting research and education in the fields of architecture, electrical engineering, computer sciences and computer applications at universities and technical colleges in Switzerland.


Led by Doz. Alessandro Tellini, the Raplab was involved in the development process, providing know-how of the production processes and consulting on every step that concerned technical equipment.


The Department of Architecture funded the pilot project providing the priceless manpower of Professors, Scientific Assistants, Help Assistants and all the necessary resources that were needed to be implemented to make the case for the introduction of this technology into the regular pensum of the University.


Serving as Director of Studies for D-ARCH at the time, Prof. Fabio Gramazio was the voice who navigated the coordination between the Rector’s office and the researchers carrying out the work with the students.
This was entirely his idea.


Serving as Professor for the whole first year course, he welcomed the opportunity of developing a program that could help students produce their work and offered his course as the canvas for it.


Jonathan was the driving force of the program developing the workflow methods and 3D printing practices from the bottom up. He based his work on ongoing tests, extensive research, and students’ inputs, all of which informed and shaped his new academic unit called Hybrid Techniques for Architectural Design.


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ETH Zürich

Eidgenösische Technische Hochschule Zürich


Departement Architektur

Foto: Yohann Zerdoun