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NEST – Exploring the Future of Buildings

NEST is the modular research and innovation building of Empa and Eawag. At NEST, new technologies, materials and systems are tested, researched, further developed and validated under real conditions. Close cooperation with partners from research, industry and the public sector ensures that innovative construction and energy technologies are put onto the market faster. NEST contributes to making the use of resources and energy more sustainable and circular.

HiLo to win Arc Award

The NEST unit HiLo is one of the eleven winning projects of this year's Swiss architecture award, Arc Award. With its innovative, resource-saving approaches, the project stood out from the field of 359 submitted projects and thus convinced the expert jury.


Real-time data from the roots of urban trees

Planting trees is an effective means of combating heat islands in cities. However, it is particularly difficult for young trees to survive in an urban environment. The OST – Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences and Creabeton want to meet this challenge using digital methods. At NEST on the Empa campus, they are testing the prototype of an intelligent tree pit.


Rethinking construction: From polluter to vacuum cleaner

In his speech at the opening ceremony of Swissbau 2022, Peter Richner shows that the construction industry can and must make an enormously important contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. To do so, however, it is crucial to take a new direction. This change is central to achieve our climate goals. 

Selected success stories

"At NEST, the MESH technology has achieved the breakthrough"

The innovative MESH technology uses robots to produce a 3D grid structure that simultaneously forms the reinforcement and formwork. This enables the production of complex, customized concrete structures. The ETH researchers used their process for the first time on the construction site during the construction of the NEST unit DFAB HOUSE showing They now reached another milestone on the way to market maturity: the founding of the ETH spin-off MESH AG.


"Thanks to our participation in the NEST project, we can now be part of the change"

In the Sprint project, partners from research and industry worked together from the very beginning to build a new NEST unit in the shortest possible time, largely with reused materials. In this interview, Maike Stroetmann from Bouygues Energies & Services talks about the challenges of the project for her and her team and the knowledge they gained in the process.


Acoustics from the 3D printer

In the STEP2 unit's floor slab project, the team developed a novel acoustics solution that will be discreetly integrated into the ribbed filigree slab: A box from the 3D printer. It enables a high acoustics quality of a room despite a sound-reflecting surface and extends the design freedom for the architects.


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Focus: Energy revolution