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Swiss Eawag Forum Chriesbach: high-tech green building explored

Forum Chriesbach, the new research center of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) proves that green buildings can be high-tech, cost effective, highly functional and beautiful. The building has won four Swiss awards for innovation, energy efficiency, daylighting and solar design. A new book, published by the Holcim Foundation, explains the concept and details of this building which aims to set new standards for sustainable construction.

The building has no furnace. It is heated by the sun, the earth, people, computers and lights. It requires as much heating energy as a standard family house, but it is forty times larger. It uses rainwater for flushing toilets. It has no mechanical air conditioning system but it stays comfortable all summer long. It can change the notion of what a green building is.

Forum Chriesbach is not a typical wood-and-glass, grass-roofed alternative building; it is a high-tech research center with waterless urinals, a computer-controlled glass facade that moves in response to sunlight, and a transparent and comfortable interior that invites users to sit down and exchange information even in the corridors, which are spacious, daylighted, and furnished with tables and chairs. It achieves very high standards of energy efficiency, technical performance, economy, functionality, and ecological use of materials.

Eawag Forum Chriesbach – Research Center in Switzerland is an 80-page book that describes the building design, explains the architect’s intentions and gives readers a sense of visiting the building themselves – enhanced by numerous photos in addition to diagrams, architectural drawings, and technical data. An interview with the building’s architect, Bob Gysin (Zurich), discusses sustainability, architectural practice, and thinking beyond limits.

The book is the second in a series of monographs on outstanding examples of building in a sustainable world, published by the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. The first book, Office building in Costa Rica introduces the Foundation’s five “target issues” for sustainable construction which were developed in collaboration with five of the world’s leading technical universities. The “target issues” which demonstrate the scope of sustainable construction are used for judging entries in the Holcim Awards competition.

The book (ISBN 978-3-7266-0079-2) is available in English from the Holcim Foundation and may also be downloaded as PDF at www.lafargeholcim-foundation.org

The second Holcim Awards competition to promote sustainable construction worldwide is open until February 29, 2008. Entries in the competition can be submitted at www.holcimawards.org. The prize money for the five regional competitions and the global Awards totals USD two million.

Last Updated: June 21, 2007
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Dübendorf, Switzerland
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