Sustainable Built Environment  
Structures & Infrastructures
Buildings & Cities
Advanced Light Weight Structures

Advanced Lightweight Structures (ALiS)

ALiS commits to minimizing the use of resources which are consumed by any individual production step referring to both structural rehabilitation and new construction of building elements. Lightweight structures with a high degree of prefabrication have to be regarded as most beneficial for a successful implementation of this challenging task. In this context, the consideration of new materials as well as advanced production technologies enable the design of cost-efficient, ecological and smart building elements by taking structural safety into account as well.  As an interdisciplinary research activity, ALiS focuses additionally on in-situ assessment and controlling of lightweight structures by means of integrated sensors and actuators, namely under the premise of adequate structural response to extreme loads caused for instance by climate change (e. g. increased for wind loads) or natural hazards (e. g. earthquakes).

Load-bearing lightweight structure with newly developed gypsum boards (source: Empa / I-SSB): Failure after standard fire exposure (ISO 834-1) of 104 minutes

In regard to structural safety, resistance to fire of lightweight structures is a main goal of this research work. Fast thermal degradation of protective insulating material or single components leads often to a fast progressive failure of the entire structure, in particular under load-bearing conditions. The development of modified lightweight elements with improved fire behavior and longer fire resistance time on the structural level goes hand in hand with building-up competence regarding computational modeling on various length scales. This will include the thermo-mechanical behaviour, emissions, protection and improvement of single and composite materials (porous, organic and inorganic), components and structures. Pre- and post-fire issues round up this multidisciplinary endeavour. The outcome will be theoretical knowledge as well as tangible products for being applied to demonstration objects as for instance Nest.


Dr. Erich Hugi
Tel. +41 58 765 49 77


Dr. Karim Ghazi-Wakili
Tel. +41 58 765 47 63


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