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When developing a support structure, it is always important to also keep an eye on resources and CO2 consumption. Thanks to our spectral planning in particular, we are especially adept at taking ecological aspects into account. This is because sustainable, resource-conserving and energy-saving construction is an integral part of every single discipline.

If the support structure, fire protection, planking, sealing and facade are planned together instead of sequentially, then resources, CO2 consumption and use of materials are reduced right from the start.

We work in a network. Teams of generalists and specialists act together. We do not think in terms of individual specialist departments for different lots, because the demand for sustainability can only be met in an interdisciplinary and holistic way.

© ZPF Ingenieure
© Herzog & de Meuron
© Herzog & de Meuron
© Herzog & de Meuron
© Herzog & de Meuron
Earth-timber element © ZPF Ingenieure AG
© Herzog & de Meuron
© Herzog & de Meuron

Ecological construction means more than a thatched roof and greened facades. An efficient support structure made from the optimal material is part of any ecological sustainable building, as is consideration of the environmental impact, the non-renewable primary energy used and the greenhouse gas emissions throughout the building’s entire life cycle. In order to achieve as much as possible, we sometimes leave the beaten track, such as with the new office building HORTUS - House of Research, Technology, Utopia and Sustainability.

The HORTUS pays back its grey energy from construction and deconstruction in one generation and is already energy positive after 30 years. And when it is no longer needed after many years of use, its parts are composted or reused. For this unusual task, we first questioned the planning process itself: what happens if we do not develop the supporting structure based on the architectural design, but the architecture based on the optimal supporting structure? In other words, when the building is created in an inverse process from material to construction to architecture?

For this purpose, we compared different standard ceiling and load-bearing systems as well as column grids according to aspects such as ecological and economic sustainability as well as suitability for use. The comparison shows that it is not only the material, but above all the construction that determines sustainability. In short: the simpler the construction, the more sustainable we can choose the material. The result is a ceiling system in which we use wood and clay specifically according to their strengths so that they meet today's demands for comfort and aesthetics.

More about the project

More ecology projects.

Contact partners.

Jacqueline Pauli

Prof Dr sc ETH civil eng SIA · VKF Fire Protection Specialist

Zurich · +41 44 434 65 22

Nico Ros

Grad civil eng FH SIA · BA Management

Basel · +41 61 386 99 88

Remo Thalmann

MSc FHNW in Engineering SIA

Basel · +41 61 386 99 80

Spectral planning.