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House moving the hard way


House moving the hard way

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One of Zurich’s landmarks, a 122-year-old industrial building called the “Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon” has been literally moved, 60 metres down the road, to make room for a railway extension.

The building weighs an estimated 6,200 tonnes and the relocation project was the largest ever undertaken in Europe. The building was facing demolition in 2010 but was saved when Swiss estate agent, Swiss Prime Site, decided to buy it.

Preparations for the move started 10 months ago. Supporting basement walls were replaced with steel pillars. A concrete plate with tracks on top was constructed under the building. Finally the building was placed on special carriages.

During its two-day-move, the 18m long, 12m wide building was transported using 500 rollers and two hydraulic engines – at a speed of about four metres an hour.

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