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Press release

PORR hands over the Gleisarena with its innovative glass brick facade at Zurich central station

Zurich/Vienna, 02.04.2020 – On Tuesday, after approximately two and a half years of construction, total service and general contractor PORR handed over the Gleisarena to the client SBB Immobilien. PORR was commissioned by SBB Immobilien to construct a multi-purpose building alongside the train tracks at Zurich central station. The most striking element of this project is the innovative glass brick facade facing the tracks. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the facade's complex geometry and highly exacting requirements in terms of building physics made the project a technically challenging one. As total service contractor, PORR SUISSE realised this building with the aid of the technical expertise of PORR subsidiary Alu Sommer. The contract volume is approximately 40 million Swiss francs (35.9 million euros).

The curved striking glass brick facade at Zurich central station.
The curved striking glass brick facade at Zurich central station.

“We worked with an innovative architectural office in Switzerland to produce a facade that is the only one of its kind in the world”, said Hubert Seifert, Managing Director of PORR SUISSE. “With this top-quality result, we – as a total service contractor – have demonstrated our comprehensive expertise in turning innovative, and technically and aesthetically demanding architectural ideas into reality. We are very proud of this achievement.”

Building physics and geometric requirements

Given today’s highly exacting requirements for heat transfer, sound insulation and dimensional tolerances, a glass brick facade poses enormous challenges in planning and execution. Glass bricks have an exceptionally high aesthetic value. In the past, however, this always had to be weighed up against massive disadvantages in terms of building physics.

The architectural office Made in Sàrl incorporated a large glass brick facade into their design for the Gleisarena. The geometry is multiple curved, making it difficult to realise in square glass bricks. At first glance, the facade looks like a continuous curve, but due to the geometry of the glass bricks it is actually a polygon.

This large-scale application is ideally suited to showcasing the high aesthetic appeal of a glass brick facade. With this solution, PORR is establishing a real milestone in the use of glass bricks in facade construction.

All the facts and figures at a glance

Contract type:Total service contractor
Project type:Building construction/offices
Project scope:Planning and construction of a seven-storey head end structure and a six-storey longitudinal building
Order volume:40 million Swiss francs (35.9 million euros)
Construction start:May 2017
Construction end:March 2020
Curved facade:1,500m²



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Milena IovevaCompany Spokesperson