Boasting an intricate, doubly curved concrete roof, lightweight funicular floors, and self-learning building technology, the latest addition to Empa and Eawag's Nest research building in Dübendorf/Switzerland has officially opened.
HiLo (High performance – Low emissions) combines medieval building principles with futuristic construction methods. At Nest, new technologies, materials and systems are tested, researched, further developed and validated under real conditions. In the new unit, scientists and industrial partners will explored how lightweight structures and efficient construction methods can be combined with intelligent and adaptive building systems to reduce emissions in the construction industry.
The unit’s roof derives its load-bearing capacity from its highly curved geometry combined with a concrete sandwich structure, made of 2 thin layers of reinforced concrete connected by a grid of concrete ribs and steel anchors. For the mezzanine floors, using a rib-stiffened funicular shell instead of a flat plate, HiLo's lightweight funicular system uses over 70% less material than conventional floor slabs. Furthermore, digital production methods allowed the integration of ventilation, cooling, and low temperature heating systems into the floor structure for an even greater reduction in materials and volume.