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Erecting NEST: The shell of the building of the future is up and ready

September 11, 2015 | Mirella Wepf

An innovative building known as NEST is currently being erected by the research institutes, Empa and Eawag. The building is designed to allow entire residential units to be exchangeable. From spring 2016, international research teams will test new ideas for living and work spaces together with experts from the building industry. The topping-out ceremony took place 11 September 2015, and was attended by the Zürich City Council Member, Carmen Walker-Späh.

NEST is a modular building with a fixed central core and replaceable living and work spaces. New spatial concepts for living and work will be tried out, and building materials and energy systems tested. Alongside Empa and Eawag, other academic partner institutions involved in the project are ETH Zürich, EPF Lausanne and the University of Lucerne.

Under the direction of Eawag, multiple water and wastewater use and re-use concepts will be tested in the NEST. One objective of the research building is that it assists in the development of promising solutions for reducing water consumption and recovering the valuable resources contained in wastewater.

NEST stands for “Next Evolution in Sustainable Building Technologies”.

The testing done in the building will permit future innovations in the construction sector to be developed and brought to market more quickly. NEST will not only function as a laboratory, but will also be used as a real living space and office and conference building, meaning that all modules will be evaluated by real-life users. The energy and water requirements of each individual module will be recorded and analysed separately. At the end of a research project, the particular module unit associated with it will be exchanged with another one that will be based on completely different research questions.

The erection of the building shell has met an important project deadline, and the building will commence operation in spring 2016.