Monte Rosa lodge with Matterhorn, Photo: ETH-Studio Monte Rosa/Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
Life threatening conditions, abode of trolls and witches: The Alpine inhabitants of the Middle Ages avoided the mighty peaks and icy heights of the high Alpine regions. Nowadays they are accessible for tourism. Alpinism the way we know it today dates back to Romanticism, which is when several Alpine associations like the German Alpine Society (Deutscher Alpenverein) or the SAC (Swiss Alpine Club) were founded. They provided basic lodges or camps to their members. Today, on the one hand great care is taken of the Alpine environment, while on the other hand the needs of Alpine tourism must be attended to. Lately this field of tension has given rise to a few buildings worth mentioning.
The silvery, shining aluminium cladding reflects the mood of the light, Photo: ETH-Studio Monte Rosa/Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
Modern architecture 2883 metres above sea level: the new SAC lodge Monte Rosa
Alpine construction, with its extreme conditions, remains a challenge in engineering, as shown by the recent example of the Monte Rosa lodge.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) took over the architectural and technical concept, creating a crystalline body with remote-controlled energy management from a computer at the ETH in Zurich. The energy needed for heating water and air come from solar collectors. The sewage is micro filtered on a bacterial basis and the resulting greywater is reused for flushing and cleaning purposes.
The silvery, shining aluminium cladding and the photovoltaic structure on the southern facade conceal the wooden construction beneath. Inside, the building is more homey, the Alpine crystal has a warm, soft core and you can carve your name in the restaurant furnishings.
The dining hall of the Monte Rosa Lodge, Photo: ETH-Studio Monte Rosa/Tonatiuh Ambrosetti
During four weeks a robot of the ETH Zurich will built the ‘Pike Loop’ installation on a traffic island in the middle of New York. From 5 October passersby will be able to follow the construction of the bending brick wall, which will be finished 27 October and last until the end of the year. The installation and its unique construction method was developed by the professorship of Gramazio & Kohler ‘Architecture and Digital Fabrication’ at the ETH Zurich. The research of this professorship will be presented within the attendant exhibition „Digital Materiality“ in the „Storefront for Art and Architecture“ gallery from 1 October til 14 November.
'Pike Loop' by Gramazio & Kohler
Here is what the architects explain:
“Pike Loop is a 22m (72ft) long structure built from bricks, the most traditional building material widely present in New York. It was designed to be built on-site with an industrial robot from a movable truck trailer. More than seven thousand bricks aggregate to form an infinite loop that weaves along the pedestrian island. In changing rhythms the loop lifts off the ground and intersects with itself at its peaks and valleys. The massive weight of the bricks is brought to a delicate suspension. The digitally designed brick structure is further articulated by a weighted compressing and tensioning of the brick bond. Where the loop flies the bond becomes stretched and thus lighter; where it brings loads to the ground it becomes jagged and heavier, thus wider and more stable.”
“The continuous form and homogeneous expression of the structure can only be achieved through on site digital fabrication. The structure is built using the robotic fabrication unit R-O-B housed in a transportable freight container. R-O-B was shipped from Switzerland to New York and loaded onto a low bed trailer for transport and onsite fabrication. The moving of the truck trailer shifts the 4.5m (15ft) work area of R-O-B along the site in order to build the complete structure.”
Client: Storefront for Art and Architecture in conjunction with the New York City Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program Collaborators: Michael Knauß (project leader), Ralph Bärtschi, Markus Giera, Michael Lyrenmann, Kirsten Weiss, Brett Albert, Marc Pancera, Tom Stewart Selected experts: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, P.C. (Structural Engineering) Sponsors: ETH Zurich, Faculty of Architecture Keller AG Ziegeleien Consulate General of Switzerland in New York Swiss International Airlines General Shale Brick Inc. USM Modular Furniture Pro Helvetia Sika Schweiz AG Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, P.C. Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts New York State Council on the Arts New York city Department of Cultural Affairs
We all remember the charming little blow up chair ‘Plopp’, which uses a production process invented by the Faculty of Computer-Aided Architectural Design (CAAD) at the ETH Zurich under Dr. Ludger Hovestadt. Last week, Oskar Zieta, designer of ‘Plopp’ and collaborater at the ETH Zürich, presented together with ETH students a new rather advanced design of a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT), which was developed using the same ‘FIDU’ technology. These small but efficient turbines are designed for individual use. “We calculated that two turbines can supply an avarage 4 persons family household”, Zieta mentioned. The low weight, minimal material consumption and the low cost of production are a big step in the development of the generation of renewable energy.
VAWT for individual use
MAS students: Mathias Bernhard, Katerina Bouziana, Kent Brockmann, Günes Direk, Aphrodite Stavropoulou, Jasmin Zarali
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