NEST Urban Mining & Recycling (UMAR) Experimental Unit , Dübendorf, CH

Our resources are becoming increasingly scarce, a fact which the construction world also has to face. "In future, buildings should not only provide spaces to live and work but, at the same time, should also serve as a material stock for the next generation," says Enrico Marchesi, Innovation Manager at the "NEST". NEST is a research and innovation building on the campus of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa). Individual research and innovation modules are implemented in the basic structure according to the plug-and-play principle. They act as real-life test laboratories. One of these units, the Urban Mining & Recycling Experimental Unit (UMAR), was designed by the Stuttgart-based architect and engineer Werner Sobek together with Dirk Hebel and Felix Heisel from the KIT. UMAR is experimenting with construction using completely reusable, recyclable or compostable materials and products that can be separated into their individual components and returned to their respective material cycles without any residues.

Over 50 Nimbus luminaires, including some brand new developments, light up the unit, which serves as an apartment for two students. Being a pioneer in the field of LED technology, Nimbus has always had great interest in the economical use of energy and raw materials. Other materials used include a new type of insulation panel made of mushroom mycelium, innovative recycled stone, recycled insulation material or leased carpets. The concept, design and project planning were realised in a collaboration between Werner Sobek, Dirk E. Hebel and Felix Heisel.

Project data

  • Builder: Empa Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Dübendorf/Switzerland (Enrico F. Marchesi, Reto Fischer)
  • Planning: Werner Sobek with Dirk E. Hebel and Felix Heisel, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe/Germany (Project Management, Werner Sobek Office: Bernd Köhler, Dr. Frank Heinlein)
  • Tags: wohnen,erschließen
  • Realisation: 2018
  • Photographer: Zooey Braun