ETH - HIB - Arch_Tec_Lab


Eth Hib
Arch Tec Lab 2
Arch Tec Lab 3
Arch Tec Lab 4
Arch Tec Lab

A laboratory for digital building.

The Eidgenössisch Technische Hochschule Zurich (ETH) HIB building is known under the name Arch_Tec_Lab. It is located at the ETH Hönggerberg site. According to the ETH Zurich Campus Hönggerberg 2040 masterplan, the previous agricultural zone between two woodland areas will become a completely independent urban district with apartments, shopping and entertainment amenities, whereby teaching and research will continue to play a central role. On a day-to-day basis, the Arch_Tec_Lab sees itself as a real laboratory where researchers, together with their students, constantly tackle new problems and test solutions on site.

Building as an experiment

The new building houses the Institute for Technology and Architect (ITA) and the Robotic Fabrication Laboratory. The construction scientists planned this expansion of their research and teaching landscape "in house" so to speak. The building project was organised as an experiment. The largely digital planning and construction process took six years, involving architects, civil engineers, construction technicians and construction physicists from six ITA professorships. Together, they aimed to explore how they could contribute to a more resource-conserving and spatially dense construction using digital technologies and collaborative planning processes. HRS was responsible for the implementation of the project as the overall contractor.

Robot carpenters make wooden roof

The roof clearly illustrates the creative and technical possibilities digital building offers today. The roof consists of a series of five dome-shaped vaults and 48,000 individual squared lumber sections with lengths of up to 3.10 metres. The pieces of wood were joined to 168 truss girders, which stretch up to a length of 14.70 metres between the curved box girders of the construction made mainly from steel. A single portal robot prefabricated the roof on its own. This was only made possible thanks to integrated digital planning and production processes.

Innovative also in in-house service technology

Like the roof, the in-house technology concept is also a pioneering achievement of the participating ETH chairs. Not only in the planning and construction phase did they want to get by with as few resources as possible, the Arch_Tec_Lab should also function as emission-free as possible. The zero-emission technology developed at the ETH in 2010 is used as the in-house technology. In the double floor structure of the building, there are 120 so-called airboxes connected to the energy network of the campus. These airboxes provide ventilation and also serve to heat and cool the building. On the one hand, the double floor accommodates the pipe network and, on the other, it ensures that the air is released into the rooms through slight overpressure via floor outlets. The extremely complex in-house technology proved to be a particular challenge for HRS. This was a prototype. Accordingly, intensive negotiations had to be conducted with the authorities. Finally, the concept was ready for implementation to the complete satisfaction of all parties involved.


ETH Zurich, Zurich-Hönggerberg

Services rendered by HRS
Sole contractor with full cost, quality and deadline guarantee

Arch-Tec-Lab AG, Zurich-Hönggerberg

Plot size
5,000 sqm

Total cost
CHF 35 million

Construction period
June 2014 – June 2016


HRS Real Estate AG
Siewerdtstrasse 8
8050 Zurich

+41 58 122 80 00


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