Re:Crete: an extraordinary eco-constructed footbridge

The collaborative project led by Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne with the support of Freyssinet SA (Suisse), has won the "Technical Challenge" mention at the Trophées Bâtiments Circulaires 2022 in the “Out of the box” category.

Re:Crete is an extraordinary footbridge created by Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL (SXL) in collaboration with the State of Wallis. First of its kind, and created as a research prototype, this footbridge demonstrates the feasibility of reusing concrete elements extracted from a cast-in-place structure in a new load-bearing structure.

The fabrication process involves 25 concrete blocks extracted by sawing obsolete cast-in place concrete from a source building. Dimensions of each block were adjusted to the arch design and the sides of the blocks were drilled to accommodate post-tensioning cables supplied by Freyssinet. These blocks were then meticulously assembled and connected with internal post-tensioning cables. Mortar was poured in the joints between the blocks to ensure good contact between them. The last step consisted in stressing the post-tensioning cables to ensure compression and self-support of the entire structure. Moreover, this assembly method allows the Re:Crete footbridge to be deconstructed following a reversed sequence in order to be reassembled in another location.

Re:Crete not only showcases the potential of reusing concrete elements but also emphasizes its sustainable benefits. By repurposing materials, we reduce the demand for cement, minimize CO2 emissions, and limit concrete waste.

Let’s celebrate this groundbreaking achievement in sustainable construction and inspire further innovation!