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NEST Experimental Unit “Urban Mining & Recycling”

Werner Sobek has been commissioned by the Swiss EMPA (Federal Institute for Material Testing) to develop an experimental unit for EMPA’s nest campus. For this purpose Werner Sobek cooperates with Prof. Dirk Hebel from ETH Zurich. The aim of this project is to create a prototype structure that demonstrates the potential of urban resource repositories. The main focus of the construction module lies on the building materials employed, the way they are assembled and their suitability for reuse. Material, structural and energetic questions are regarded as a coherent whole within the module itself, and the micro, macro and systems levels are all taken into consideration at every turn. The module’s design is guided by two primary objectives: (1) to bring about the standardised, serial implementation of a Design for Disassembly; and (2) to unlock the potential of recycled materials for the construction industry. As a result, the structure consists of a weight-optimised supporting construction with easily exchangeable wall, floor and ceiling elements that can be produced from recycled materials and/or are ideally suited for use in a recycling process. This allows the unit to become both a materials store (urban mining) and a materials laboratory (recycling) at the same time.