Dirk Hebel is Dean of the Faculty of Architecture (2019–) and Professor of Sustainable Construction (2017–) at the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) in Karlsruhe, Germany.
He is a member of the Academic Committee of the LafargeHolcim Foundation (2017–).
He is also Principal Investigator at the Future Cities Laboratory (2012–), which was established in 2010 by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and Singapore’s National Research Foundation.
He was Assistant Professor of Architecture & Construction and Director of the Master of Advanced Studies Program in Urban Design at the ETH Zurich (2012-17) and founding Scientific Director of the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture Building Construction & City Development (EiABC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2009-12).
He was Visiting Critic, Cornell University (2017), Guest Lecturer, Princeton University (2017), Guest Professor, Syracuse University (2008) and Visiting Lecturer, American University of Sharjah (2005 & 2006).
He obtained a Master of Architecture from the ETH Zurich (1998), and a Master of Architecture from Princeton University (2000).
Dirk Hebel practices architecture with his firm DRKH Architecture, based in Zurich, activating unusual building materials such as air (Discoveries, an exhibition for the Foundation Lindau Nobel Prize Winners and On_Air, an installation for KunstWerke Berlin), water (as project manager for Diller & Scofidio’s BLUR Building for EXPO.02 in Switzerland), bamboo (in his research on new bamboo composite materials for the building sector), or waste (as in the New York ETH Pavilion for Ideas Cities 2015 and the award-winning project United_Bottle). His work has been shown in numerous exhibitions worldwide, including the Design Fair Cologne (2017), the Seoul Architecture Biennale (2017), and the Venice Architecture Biennale (2016).
His building projects include the UMAR (Urban Mining & Recycling) project in Zurich for EMPA Dübendorf (2017, with Felix Heisel and Werner Sobek Group), headquarters of Seele in Gersthofen, Germany (2017, with Hotz+ Architekten, Felix Heisel, and Uta Bogenrieder), and a school house complex for 1,000 students and manufacturing complex for 500 workers in Cambodia for the NGO Smiling Gecko (2016-17, with Lisa Devenoge, Lorine Grossenbacher, Franziska Matt, Elizabeth Müller, Alina Wyder, and Marcel Aubert). Dirk Hebel was one of the founding partners of INSTANT Architects (2002-08). He received the New York Van Alen Institute Fellowship Award, the Red Dot Design Award for Best Conceptual Design, the SMART Innovation Grant Singapore, a ZUMTOBEL GROUP Award, and the LANXESS Award Singapore.
Dirk Hebel initiated an exchange program for both faculty and students between the Addis Ababa University (AAU) and the ETH Zurich, together with Franz Oswald and Marc Angélil. They organized study visits to Ethiopia, taking students to Lalibela, Gondar, Axum, Harer, Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa, and conducted workshops with different stakeholders in the field of the building industry including policy decision-making parties.
His publications include Cultivated building materials (Birkhäuser, 2017, with Felix Heisel), Building from waste: Recovered materials in architecture and construction (Birkhäuser, 2016, with Marta H Wisniewska and Felix Heisel), Cities of change: Addis Ababa, Deviations – an experiment in architectural design pedagogy to initiate a plea for a new type of architectural practice (Birkhäuser, 2008, with Marc Angélil), Bathroom unplugged (Birkhäuser, 2005, with Jörg Stollmann) and Addis Ababa: Manifesto on African Progress (Ruby, 2018).
He was a participant in the 2nd LafargeHolcim Roundtable “Re-materializing Construction”, held in Einsiedeln, Switzerland (2015) and the 3rd Roundtable held at the Institute for Lightweight Structures & Conceptual Design (ILEK), University of Stuttgart, Germany (2018). He was a workshop moderator for Changing paradigms: Materials for a world not yet built at the 6th International LafargeHolcim Forum for Sustainable Construction held in Cairo, Egypt in April 2019.
Dirk Hebel was a member of the LafargeHolcim Awards jury for region Europe in 2020.