Mesh Mould Wins Swiss Technology Award
The project with its roots in FCL wins the most important Swiss prize for innovation and technology transfer in the 'Inventors' category.
Each building that we construct today is being built twice: Once as formwork that gives the fluid concrete its final shape and once in concrete itself. Especially in the case of individual buildings, the formwork can only be used once, before it ends up on the trash heap. This causes enormous material waste and immense costs.
First launched at the Future Cities Laboratory, the 'Mesh Mould' project, which allows to build load-bearing concrete elements of any shape without formwork, continued at ETH Zurich. FCL alumnus Norman Hack, currently the project leader of 'Mesh Mould', and his five-person team of ETH Zurich worked intensively to resolve this problem.
On 24 November 2016, the project team behind the novel building technology received the Swiss Technology Award in the category 'Inventors' at the 11th Swiss Innovation Forum in Basel.
According to Hack, 'Mesh Mould' has big advantages for both bespoke and standardised concrete architecture: Whilst in the case of individual architecture, the great benefit of the new technology lies in the fact that no material- and cost-intense one-way formworks are needed, the advantage for standardised concrete structures is that the structures can be structurally optimised.
Because of the standardised formworks, walls for example today need to be built with a continuous thickness over their whole length. In contrast, the thickness of a wall built with 'Mesh Mould' can vary over its whole length depending on the required load-bearing capacity of the specific sections. As a result, besides the formwork, also concrete can be saved.
"With Mesh Mould, we protect our environment, are able to build at lower price and enjoy unlimited freedom of design", said Hack.
In 2017, 'Mesh Mould' will be implemented on the modular research and innovation building NEST of Empa in Dübendorf as part of the Unit of the NCCR Digital Fabrication. The research team is already looking forward to this first real-world application at 1:1 building scale.