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Huge Zurich factory to be moved 60 metres

Lyssandra Sears · 23 May 2012, 10:35

Published: 23 May 2012 15:25 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 May 2012 10:35 GMT+02:00

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The largest building to be moved in Europe, by Oerlikon Station in Zurich, is in the process of being slid 60 metres to one side.



The 123-year-old building weighs in at 6,200 tonnes and by Tuesday evening had already made it half way through its intended journey, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.

A special hydraulic system is pushing the building gently, centimetre by centimetre, along a metal track. At the end of the exercise, the building will also sit about 17 centimetres higher than it did at the start.

The building, formerly a factory, has in recent years been home to a bar.

The anticipation in the air on Tuesday morning was palpable, with many media representatives, politicians and members of the public having turned out to watch the historical event.

As the hydraulic system was switched on, a strange noise was released, not unlike a firecracker. This was then replaced by a low hum as the balloons attached to the buildings roof lifted into the air.

The team behind the move is a combination of the owner, technology company ABB, the purchaser Swiss Prime Site, the rail company SBB, and the local council.

Nobody expected the move to go so smoothly on Tuesday, but none of the carefully crafted alarms were triggered and day’s work was completed without a hitch.

The project was first conceived by planner, Peter Noser, from the Office of Planning, in 2007, who came up with a sketch of an idea to simply move the former tool and weapons factory to one side.

The costs of the move, some 12 million francs ($12.6 million), have been paid by the purchaser Swiss Prime Site, while the insurances and guarantees have been undertaken by ABB and the SBB.

The final metres should be completed sometime between 3pm and 5pm on Wednesday.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

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