Today we made an excursion to the ETH House of Natural Resources. The ETH House acted as a pilot building for hardwood construction and a project building for full scale research and demonstrations. The two lower levels of the building were made out of concrete while the two upper stories were made out of hardwood. One of the most interesting things we learned during the presentation led by one of the research institution students was the controversy of using Glulam in construction. Robert mentioned there is often a trade off between using renewable materials, such as wood and glue, for the benefit of the environment and causing another problem. For example, glulam cannot be disposed of by the public. Instead, it is burned in specific buildings to produce part of the country’s energy and cut down on toxic pollution released when the glue is burned improperly. The building will be open next week.
Robert also showed us to two other covered wooden bridges. The first was in a tiny little Swiss village and was originally constructed in 1815 and renovated in 1955. The second bridge was just outside a farming community in Switzerland. It was made from untreated wood. Lastly our group got t see the spectacular Rhein Falls. Rhein Falls is the largest waterfall in Europe and a major attraction for the country. It was quite a journey to get to the bottom but well worth the effort!