Current work

As Assistant Professor of Circular Engineering for Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), Prof. Catherine De Wolf is conducting research on digital innovation towards a circular built environment. She is the director of the Chair of Circular Engineering for Architecture (CEA). The CEA lab is an interdisciplinary team of civil engineers, architects, urbanists, and computer scientists who collaborate towards automating the reuse of building materials. Catherine De Wolf is also the founder of De Wolf Environmental Architecture Thinking. A key element in Catherine's work is ensuring a continuous link between academia and industry. Therefore, she works with real-world examples such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris.


After studying Civil Engineering and Architecture at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), she obtained a Masters of Science in Building Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This was followed by a PhD in Architecture: Building Technology at MIT with Prof. John Ochsendorf. Her dissertation was about low carbon pathways for structural design and embodied life cycle impacts of building structures. During her PhD, she also worked in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, as well as in the Center for Natural Resources and the Environment in Kuwait and the African Urban Metabolism Network in South Africa. She also has an education in documentary filmmaking.

Previous Work

Previously, Catherine lectured and conducted research in Design and Construction Management at the University of Technology Delft (TU Delft), after completing a postdoc in the Structural Xploration Lab (SXL) within the smart living lab at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), co-funded by Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships from the European Commission and the Swiss Excellence schollarship. Other professional experiences include working for Arup, Ney & Partners and other leading architectural and structural design firms. She was one of the initiators of the Structural Engineers 2050 Commitment Initiative with the Carbon Leadership Forum and companies such as Arup and Thornton Tomasetti.

ETH Zurich
Assistant Professor

In her new post in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich, Catherine will work on digital circular construction.

DiCE Lab
Digital Circular Economy

With Sultan Cetin, Catherine co-founded the DiCE lab, a knowledge sharing and networking platform bringing academia, practice, and policy together.

Conference talk

Join the AI in AEC Conference to hear Catherine's talk on automating reuse of materials in architecture as well as other speakers in this emerging field.

Carbon Positive Future

Join the Carbon Positive Future event at TU Delft with Catherine as a speaker alongside others from Arup, A-01 & ConSost, and Cie Architekten.

School Venezuela

With Trazando Espacios Publicos, we are looking for Global Giving donations and expertise
on using local materials in remote areas.

Carbon Positive
Architecture 2030

Follow Catherine's talk on achieving the zero carbon target at the Carbon Positive RESET conference organised by Architecture 2030.


Follow the lecture on automation for a circular economy in construction for the Northeastern University Sustainable Building Organization (NUSBO).

ACSA Award
Research Contribution

The ACSA Award recognized our paper in the Technology | Architecture + Design Journal on benchmarking embodied carbon in buildings as best article.

Maddy Keynote

Invited as a Maddy Keynote speaker, Catherine shares her visions for more sustainable architecture during this major, live-broadcasted event about innovation in France

Engineering Club

Invited to give a talk at the Engineering Club in London, Catherine speaks about innovative engineering design and practice towards a circular economy in the construction industry

Egis Concept

To establish a true industry-academia collaboration, Catherine works with design office and engineering workshop Elioth on life cycle assessment and circular economy assessment

IOC Think Tank
International Olympic Committee

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), Corentin Fivet, Martin Fröhlich, Tiago Borges, and Catherine De Wolf co-organised a workshop on Sustainable Sport Infrastructure at the Olympic House

European Commission

Catherine worked for the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission on European LCA databases and tools and on Level(s) projects across European countries

Notre-Dame Reloaded
University of Liechtenstein

As guest lecturer at the University of Liechtenstein, Catherine taught students about reusing materials to redesign the Notre-Dame in the Advanced Studio Upcycling: Notre-Dame reloaded

Tramdepot Reuse
EAST & Losinger Marazzi

Invited as expert, Catherine taught students about reusing elements of the structure of an old tramdepot in a workshop led by the Elementary Architecture and Studies of Types (EAST)

Bringing embodied carbon upfront

As expert for Ramboll Engineering, Catherine contributed to the latest report by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) on how to reach a zero-carbon built environment

Environmental impact of cement

Catherine presented the role of the cement industry on reducing emissions based on the results from the ECF report

Europe Climate Foundation

Read the latest report on decarbonising the cement and concrete sector written for the Europe Climate Foundation co-authored by Catherine at EPFL

International Energy Agency

Read the latest report on material efficiency in clean energy transitions from the International Energy Agency co-reviewed by Catherine

Launch event Switzerland

Catherine presented the benefits of circular economy at Madaster's launch event in Switzerland

De Morgen

Catherine was interviewed by De Morgen Magazine within a series on visionary architects


Catherine participates in a debate at Batibouw on the ecological impact of the construction sector

Circular Columns

Catherine is writing a series of interviews on circular economy in the building sector


Catherine was interviewed by B NK to talk about the environmental impact of buildings

European Commission

Catherine co-organised a webinar on how to use Level(s), a voluntary reporting framework to improve the sustainability of buildings

Swiss Resources Forum

Catherine talked about the principles of circular economy at the Swiss Resources Forum in the Empa Institute

Planet Week

Globally operating architecture and urbanism practice MVRDV invited Catherine to talk at their "Planet Week"

IASS Boston
Hangai Alumni Talks

Hangai Alumni Catherine spoke in a plenary session of the Intenational Association of Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) 

Embodied Carbon in Buildings

Read the Springer book co-edited and co-authored by Catherine: "Embodied Carbon in Buildings: Measurement, Management and Mitigation"

EU Cost Action

Catherine joined the REthinking Sustainability TOwards a Regenerative Economy group (RESTORE) and will hold a workshop at Greenbuild Europe

Seminar series
UC Berkeley and Stanford

Join the seminar series on low carbon structural design at ETH Zurich, UC Berkeley, Stanford University and California Polytechnic State University

TEP Venezuela
Trazando Espacios Públicos

Check out the school park built from reused waste materials with the schoolchildren in collaboration with the NGO created by Ana Vargas in Venezuela

The New Carbon Architecture

Read the chapter on embodied carbon research in the new book "The New Carbon Architecture"


Read the latest column on "Timber Architecture" by clicking on

TEDx talk

Watch the TEDx talk on new low carbon materials in Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris on YouTube

Innovators under 35

Catherine was one of the laureats of the Innovators under 35 Belgium Awards

 Prof. Dr. ir. arch. Catherine De Wolf · Assistant Professor @ETH Zurich
 Postdoc EPFL · PhD MIT · Civil Engineer & Architect VUB & ULB


Website coded by Catherine De Wolf 
Copyright © 2019 Catherine De Wolf