VAULTED to build first large commercial project

Drawing inspiration from Gothic construction techniques, VAULTED has developed a new floor system tailored to modern industry needs, blending sustainability with structural strength. This breakthrough has propelled the start-up to secure its inaugural large-scale commercial project, encompassing 6800 square meters within a ten-story tower.

Based on several years of research at the Block Research Group of ETH Zurich (BRG), VAULTED designs and commercialises digitally prefabricated floors to promote sustainability, reduce carbon footprint and optimise construction, while ensuring maximum functionality and durability. The underlying technology are proprietary fabrication systems and software to design and fabricate the ‘Rippmann Floor System’ (RFS), a prefabricated funicular floor in concrete. By amalgamating the expertise of Gothic master builders with contemporary methodologies, VAULTED empowers the modern construction sector to achieve remarkable reductions: up to 70% in concrete usage, 80% in steel consumption, 65% in weight, and an impressive 80% decrease in embodied carbon.

These floors boast a curved shell that intuitively follows forces in compression, strategically allocating materials only where essential. In addition, the start-up has a unique approach to deploying the floors; instead of one large floor, the company delivers multiple interlocking blocks to create robust floors resistant to fire, sound, and vibrations. This strategy not only guarantees peak functionality and durability, but also establishes a new benchmark for sustainable construction practices.

First projects validate the technology
The BRG unveiled the possibility of unreinforced funicular floors through the Beyond Bending exhibition at the Venice Biennale (Italy) in 2016. After years of prototyping, the BRG built the first full-scale, code-complaint funicular floors in the HiLo unit at Empa's NEST in 2020. In 2023, thanks to a collaboration between ETH Zurich and Holcim, the first demonstrator of the RFS was installed in Empa next to the HiLo unit.

The success of these first research projects validated the patent-pending technology, resulting in the incorporation of VAULTED as an ETH spin-off, and led the architecture office Gigon/Guyer Architekten to propose the RFS for the CreaTower I project, a 10-storey office building located within the Tech Cluster Zug area in Switzerland under the supervision of Urban Assets Zug AG. In their current project, the founding team – Prof. Dr. Philippe Block and Dr. Tom Van Mele, together with Dr. Francesco Ranaudo and his team of four, will deliver floors to cover 6800 square meters. This is the company’s first commercial project using the RFS, with several confirmed projects in the pipeline.

Co-founder Francesco Ranaudo, at the helm since 2023, exudes enthusiasm for VAULTED’s progress and growth trajectory. The company has not only generated revenue, expanded its clientele in different countries and secured an early angel investment, but it has also forged strategic partnerships across the supply chain, bolstering its business model. Furthermore, the company has garnered international acclaim with negotiations underway for new projects across different countries.