Doubly curved concrete roof completed

The doubly curved concrete roof of the HiLo unit on the top platform of NEST. Ph

The doubly curved concrete roof of the HiLo unit on the top platform of NEST. Photos: Roman Keller

On the construction site of the NEST unit "HiLo" an important milestone has been achieved: The doubly curved roof shell is finished. Together with partners from industry, ETH researchers have developed completely new construction methods for the complex concrete structure.

In NEST, the modular research and innovation building of Empa and Eawag, new construction technologies and methods are being tested and validated in practice. The roof of the "HiLo" unit is a perfect point in case: The doubly curved concrete sandwich construction was not built using conventional formwork but with a textile that was placed on a reusable cable network. The weight of the wet concrete pushed the net into a predefined position and thus ultimately gave the roof its shape. The researchers of ETH Zurich’s Block Research Group developed new design algorithms for planning and calculation. Together with partners from the construction industry, the ETH researchers have now implemented the complex concrete roof for the first time in a real construction project.

The work on the HiLo construction site is now continuing. In the coming months, the interior work will take place. The unit will be completed next year.