NEST HiLo: Investigating lightweight construction and adaptive energy systems

Block P., Schlueter A., Veenendaal D., Bakker J., Begle M., Hischier I., Hofer J., Jayathissa P., Maxwell I., Mendez Echenagucia T., Nagy Z., Pigram D., Svetozarevic, B,, Torsing R., Verbeek J., Willmann A. and Lydon G.P.
Journal of Building Engineering
doi: 10.1016/j.jobe.2017.06.013

This paper presents research on lightweight construction and smart, integrated and adaptive building systems. The research is focused on addressing challenges related to the building industry at large, including most prominently the improvement of energy efficiency, onsite power generation, and the reduction of the quantity of materials required to build. We introduce four innovations in context of the design of an experimental building (NEST HiLo): a lightweight, unreinforced funicular floor system; a flexibly formed, concrete shell sandwich roof; a soft actuated, adaptive solar facade and an automated, occupant-centred control system. We demonstrate novel structural engineering approaches to compression-only concrete elements and shell design using multi-criteria shape optimisation. We explore a building facade concept, which employs robotic actuators for solar shading and on-site generation. In addition, the operational phase of the building will be used as a living laboratory where occupants' locations and needs for comfort are detected and used for the control of the energy innovations. The research provides insight into design topics that will become increasingly relevant for the evolution of improved lifecycle energy buildings.

Note on authorship

This paper has two equally contributing first and corresponding authors, so please refer to this paper as

Block, Schlueter et al. 2017 


    author  = "Block, P. and Schlueter, A. and Veenendaal, D. and Bakker, J. and Begle, M. and Hischier, I. and Hofer, J. and Jayathissa, P. and Maxwell, I. and Mendez Echenagucia, T. and Nagy, Z. and Pigram, D. and Svetozarevic, B, and Torsing, R. and Verbeek, J. and Willmann, A. and Lydon, G.P.",
    title   = "NEST HiLo: Investigating lightweight construction and adaptive energy systems",
    journal = "Journal of Building Engineering",
    year    = "2017",
    volume  = "12",
    number  = "",
    pages   = "332-341",
    month   = "",
    doi     = "10.1016/j.jobe.2017.06.013",
    note    = "",

Related publications

Veenendaal D., Bakker J. and Block P.Structural design of the cable-net and fabric formed, ferrocement sandwich shell roof of NEST HiLo,Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) Symposium,Amsterdam,2015 (August).
López López D., Veenendaal D., Akbarzadeh M. and Block P.Prototype of an ultra-thin, concrete vaulted floor system,Proceedings of the IASS-SLTE 2014 Symposium,Brasilia, Brazil,2014.
Veenendaal D., Bezbradica M., Novak D. and Block P.Controlling the geometry and forces of hybrid cable-net and fabric formworks,Proceedings of the IASS-SLTE 2014 Symposium,Brasilia, Brazil,2014.


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