March 2019 was kick-off time, and after five years in the planning, construction of the new Eawag building finally began.
After five years of planning and preparations, the first quarter of 2019 finally saw the careful work commence to dismantle the Pavilion and prepare the ground for the foundations of the new building. Work on the new structure is due to start at the beginning of July, and the FLUX building should be ready to move into by the end of 2020.
Why does Eawag need a new building?
At the beginning of 2019, the former teaching Pavilion for ETH students still stood in the location where the new FLUX building is currently being constructed. But the building that had originally only been planned as a temporary structure had come to the end of its life after 30 years in operation, and was neither energy efficient nor environmentally friendly, and did not meet today’s expectations of a modern and safe teaching and research building.
An outmoded, temporary solution on the one hand, and a growing need for extra space on the other: whereas Eawag employed 439 people in 2007, in 2018 this number had risen to 492 — with a good four fifths of Eawag employees currently located at the Dübendorf site.
Six floors, 40 rooms and a whole lot of technology
The general contractor for the project, Halter AG will be working with the firm of architects Fugazza Steinmann & Partners, who won the tender out of a total 12 bidders. Their design consists of five storeys above ground, plus one basement level, with a footprint of around 30 x 31 metres. The latest technologies and concepts in sustainable building will be deployed, in keeping with the government’s role as an exemplar. This will include, for example, an innovative laboratory ventilation system that will provide significant energy savings with its decentralised combination recirculation units. The building will be certified according to the MINERGIE-ECO® standard.
The new multi-purpose building offers a total of 40 rooms, including teaching rooms, training laboratories and space for the professional development courses. Special joint laboratories for the Process Technology Department and the Department of Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development will also be created. The Ecotoxicology Centre will also be located within the new building, and SETS (Socio Environmental Technological Systems), or the “Synthesis Centre”, should help to further expand the knowledge transfer that takes place both out of and into Eawag. In SETS, researchers and guests work at the crossing points between science, politics and industry. FLUX will also house a photo and video studio that will enable eLearning videos such as MOOCs, project videos, clips for social media and interviews to be shot and edited. A ground-level covered walkway will connect FLUX with the BU building and allow employees easy access between the two.