More interim uses thanks to modular system

04.07.2022 Vacant buildings hold great potential for interim uses. In order to be able to equip industrial halls and large spaces with room modules and fixtures quickly and cost-effectively, researchers at the Institute of Timber Construction, Structures and Architecture IHTA at Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH have launched a new project to develop a modular construction system.

Whether it is wasteland or vacant buildings, there is a lot of unused space in Switzerland. At the same time, there is a great need for affordable spaces for work or creativity. This is where interim uses can make a valuable contribution: they increase the attractiveness of the location, generate added value for society and conserve the resource that is building land. Before the interim use can be implemented, it is essential to win over owners, authorities or neighbourhoods. To date, no tool exists for systematic planning and visualisation, that would make it easy to demonstrate the feasibility of a proposed interim use. This is where the newly launched Innosuisse project “àDisposition” comes in. In order to facilitate planning and also enable fairly short usage cycles, researchers at the Institute of Timber Construction, Structures and Architecture IHTA at Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH are developing a modular construction kit. It comprises a configurator and optimised processes that aim to make it easy for project ideas to be checked, presented and implemented in a time and resource-saving manner

Installation system for “house-in-house” concept

The construction kit is intended to provide solutions for room modules and interior fittings based on the “house-in-house” concept for existing buildings. The development is aimed at owners of unused buildings, especially industrial halls and large spaces, who want to examine or enable an orderly interim use or temporary conversion for their own purposes. The proposed tool provides operators with a simple installation system that is tailored to their needs, and can be tested and implemented in a DIY construction process. The focus is on transforming the economic and social potentials of (temporarily) vacant properties through cost-effective conversion to flexible-use, diversified (work) spaces, for example as a creative space, co-working space, stage or studio. Instead of unprofitable vacancies, multi-faceted social and economic values are generated.

Research lab at DISPO

In the project, the researchers are developing various prototypes of their modular system. They can test them at DISPO in Nidau. The former industrial Kesselhalle already offers space for interim uses of various kinds and is a place where different groups of creative, cultural and business people come together.

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