In the largest undertaking its kind in Europe, a 6,200-tonne building is being shifted in one piece 60 metres westward. The old management building of the former machine factory Oerlikon in Zurich has to make way for some new railway tracks.
The brick building is 123 years old and is the last relic of Oerlikon’s 19th century industrial zone. In 1876 the Oerlikon machine factory “Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon (MFO)” began manufacturing tool machinery, weapons and electric locomotives.
When its recent owner ABB announced plans to tear it down, the public handed in a petition to save it, emphasising its cultural importance for the region. Together with the new owner Swiss Prime Site and the Swiss Federal Railways, ABB came up with the alternative plan to have the 6200-tonne building moved in one piece.
Preparation on the site started ten months ago (as shown in animation in video). Supporting basement walls had to be replaced by steel pillars. A concrete plate with tracks on top was constructed under the building. Finally the building was placed on special carriages.
On May 22 the moving began at 11.00 a.m. Via hydraulic presses it is being moved by four metres per hour. On Wednesday evening the 80-metre long building will have reached its new location.
(SF/Swiss Prime Site/swissinfo.ch)