NEST – a flagship project of Empa and Eawag in collaboration with the ETH domain – is a dynamic, modular research and demonstration platform for advanced and innovative building technologies on the Empa-Eawag campus in Dübendorf, Switzerland. As a “future living and working lab”, NEST consists of a central backbone and a basic grid to accommodate exchangeable living and office modules such as HiLo, allowing novel materials and components and innovative systems to be tested, demonstrated and optimized under real-world conditions.
In a collaborative effort to contribute to the future of construction, the Block Research Group and the Chair of Architecture & Building Systems at the Institute of Technology in Architecture, ETH Zurich have joined forces with Supermanoeuvre.
The BRG's research efforts focus on the development of three key innovations:
- Floor system innovation: Introducing funicular vaulting as a floor system results in an extremely lightweight floor system with savings of more than 70% of weight compared to traditional concrete floor slabs. This also allows for a natural and efficient integration of services and low energy heating – and cooling systems, further saving significant floor height.
- Integrated building skin innovation: The roof system will be very lightweight and extremely thin, less than 70mm, including both a thin shell structure and its building systems . The roof will be integrated with a hydronic heating- and cooling system, custom vacuum insulation, thermal energy collection and optimally arranged photovoltaic cells.
- Construction innovation: A highly efficient, reusable and lightweight mixed cable-net and fabric formwork system allows the reintroduction of the efficient, doubly curved thin shell roof structures without the typically associated high labour and resource investments. The formwork system offers a degree of control over the shape such that it can be easily optimized for improved structural behaviour and other criteria compared to traditional geometries.
HiLo for NEST introduces the following additional innovations:
- An adaptive solar façade with static and movable, modular elements mounted in front, rotating to respond to the outside environment and demands of the interior, while improving their operation through adaptive learning algorithms.
- A building automation system, targeting zero emissions in operation, controlling interior climatization and energy harvesting in order to optimally balance dynamics and user preferences, through novel user-centred approaches, machine learning and adaptation under real-life operational conditions.
Prototype flexibly formed roof
- Block Research Group, Institute of Technology in Architecture, ETH Zurich
- Professorship of Architecture and Building Systems, Institute of Technology in Architecture, ETH Zurich
- Supermanoeuvre, Sydney, Australia
- Hämmerle + Partner – local architecture of final design, and building permit
- HSSP – cost estimation and construction planning
- Bollinger + Grohmann Ingenieure – structural engineering
- Gruner Roschi – HVAC engineering
- HHM - electrical engineering
- Reflexion – lighting design
- Wichser Akustik & Bauphysik – acoustical engineering
- Assistant Professorship of Structural Mechanics, Institute of Structural Engineering (IBK), ETH Zurich – structural health monitoring
- Zwarts & Jansma Architects, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences – solar engineering of preliminary design
- Walt + Galmarini – structural concepts for facade, and drafting service criteria agreement
- Professorship of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry (IGP), ETH Zurich – photogrammetry of shell prototype