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Rendering of the NEST HiLo Project
Category Building
Duration 2013 – ongoing
Funding Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), ETH Zurich
Key Partners

Block Research Group, ETH Zurich

Supermanoeuvre, Sydney

Zwarts & Jansma Architects, Amsterdam

A/S Team A. Schlueter, Z. Nagy, A. Willmann, G. Lydon, B. Svetozarevic, P. Jayathissa, J. Hofer, M. Begle
Project Link

NEST (Next Evolution in Sustainable Building Technologies) is a dynamic, modular research and demonstration platform for advanced and innovative building technologies in the heart of the Empa-Eawag campus in Dübendorf, Switzerland. The project provides a basic infrastructure and access to an advanced geothermal system. This ‘backbone’ can accept up to fifteen modular buildings thus offering a unique setting for academic groups and innovative companies to implement their research. The exchangeable living and office modules – like HiLo – allow novel materials and systems to be demonstrated, tested, and optimized under real-life conditions.

HiLo is a research and innovation unit in the domains of lightweight concrete construction and smart, adaptive building systems. It functions as a duplex penthouse guest apartment and will host academic and industry leaders. As one of the first NEST modules, HiLo utilizes innovative design elements, materials, construction schemes, and control systems, informed by the principles of sustainable development. The key objective is an integrated design process, which considers the lowering of both embodied and operational energy and allows for sustainable design solutions without severe architectural compromises.

HiLo introduces four key innovations:

  • an integrated, funicular floor system
  • an integrated, thin-shell roof
  • an adaptive solar facade
  • an automated, occupant-centred building system
HiLo energy concept  
NEST HiLo - Energy Concept

The project is not a mere showcasing of its constituent technologies, but rather a demonstration of the architectural potentials and effects such technologies afford and an apparatus for monitoring these innovations. HiLo is currently at an advanced design phase and is due to commence construction in early 2016. A key element of the project is the Adaptive Solar Facade (ASF) – a dynamic facade of adjustable thin film photovoltaic modules with soft pneumatic actuators for solar tracking and daylight control. The elements can rotate to respond to both occupant needs and climatic changes of the outside environment. Additional information on the facade is provided under ASF – Adaptive Solar Facade.

Selected Publications

  • Hofer, Johannes, Bratislav Svetozarevic, Zoltán Nagy, and Arno Schlueter. "DC Building Network and Storage for BIPV Integration," Paper presented at the CISBAT 2015, Lausanne, Switzerland, 9.-11. September 2015.  E-Citations
  • Jayathissa, Prageeth, Zoltán Nagy, N. Offeddu, and Arno Schlueter. "Numerical Simulation of Energy Performance, and Construction of the Adaptive Solar Façade," Paper presented at the Advanced Building Skins, Graz, Austria, April 2015.  E-Citations
  • Rossi, Dino, Zoltán Nagy, and Arno Schlueter. "Soft Robotics for Architects: Integrating Soft Robotics Education in an Architectural Context," in: Soft robotics 1.2 (2014): 147-153.  DOI  E-Citations
  • Rossi, Dino, Zoltán Nagy, and Arno Schlueter. "Adaptive Distributed Robotics for Environmental Performance, Occupant Comfort and Architectural Expression," in: International Journal of Architectural Computing 10.3 (2012): 341-360.  DOI  E-Citations

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Sun Mar 26 22:44:38 CEST 2017
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