Innovation in reality

The inspiration for innovation is the use of tangible examples and successfully completed projects. Using these examples, actual applications can be demonstrated by our innovations, which at best prepare the ground for further innovation. On this page we show selected examples from different countries which have used our innovative products.

Innovative Building System for Valuable Art Treasures

Xella building materials, using Silka calcium silicate blocks, ensure maximum protection against burglary and a positive CO2 balance in the construction of the National Museum of Norway. Xella is positioning itself once again as an innovative solution provider for ambitious construction projects.


Expressionist works of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, paintings from the Blue and Rose Periods of Pablo Picasso or post-impressionist pictures of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh – the works by these famous artists are, without doubt, highly diverse in terms of their stylistic direction and artistic form, yet their common denominator is their enormous value.

A value that must be protected and preserved. Ensuring the safety of the extensive collection of artistic and cultural treasures is therefore the primary objective during construction of the National Museum of Norway in Oslo, a prestigious construction project located in the heart of the Norwegian capital. The stylishly designed, solid but simultaneously elegant looking building was designed by architects Kleihues+Kleihues and will, following its completion in three years, offer space for artworks that are currently distributed among three separate locations in the inner city of Oslo.

Design, handcrafts and visual arts from the National Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Art and Industry will then be displayed in the new National Museum. In addition to selected works by Munch, Picasso and van Gogh, the works of other famous artists will also move to the new Norwegian museum. The building integrates respectfully with the existing monuments of the area, such as the Oslo City Hall and the Akershus Fortress.

As imposing as the artistic repertoire inside the museum will be after 2020, the construction project is itself equally impressive! With an area under development of 54,600m² and a budget of 578 million euro, the new National Museum in Oslo is currently the largest active construction site in Europe. 

Comprehensive protection and security qualities

Traditional meets modern – or more accurately, historic art will soon meet futuristic building materials. The precious collection, which is certain to more than delight the museum’s international visitors once complete, already places the highest security and sustainability demands on the building during its construction phase.
In all situations where special requirements exist in terms of burglar resistance and room climate, together with load-bearing capacity and noise insulation, and where challenging planning processes demand a smooth construction sequence, the use of Silka calcium silicate blocks is the right choice. The convincing combination of high quality building materials and efficient process planning has meant that Xella has been able to impress the building contractor, Statsbygg Oslo, and become their business partner of choice.

The tradition-rich building material is available as the Silka building system in various versions and, as a result of its comprehensive protection and security qualities, is highly suitable for use in the ambitious construction project in Oslo. It is also the ideal choice for protecting the museum’s valuable artworks. As a pioneer in efficiency, security and sustainability, Silka meets the standards relating to burglar resistance in accordance with Burglar Resistance Standards EN 1627-1630 with RC3 and RC5 classification. This series of DIN standards is a testing standard which defines the various resistance classes relating to burglar resistance on the one hand, while describing the test procedures on the other. 

The individual resistance classes state for how long a product must resist a burglary attempt by a certain type of perpetrator. A higher class means better protection against burglary. In the case of the National Museum, the use of Silka means a five to fifteen minute time loss in the event of an attempted burglary – an enormous delay that often leads to the abandonment of attempted long-fingered ambitions. The fact that such preventive measures against art theft are particularly important and necessary is evidenced by the incident that took place in 1994. At that time, “The Scream”, a painting by Edvard Munch, was stolen from the National Gallery in Oslo.

Emission-free Building Materials for a Healthy Room Climate

By storing heat and humidity, Silka calcium silicate blocks from Xella Baustoffe GmbH furthermore contribute to maintaining a healthy room climate, because the temperature inside the building in summer stays pleasantly cool while remaining comfortably warm in winter. Silka comprises lime, sand and water – natural raw materials that are free of chemicals and poisonous substances. The environmentally friendly building material releases no emissions that could damage the valuable art collection – a further benefit of the calcium silicate blocks.
In comparison with conventional concrete, Silka contributes to an improvement in CO2 emissions of 61 percent, calculated on the basis of all building materials. The building material group from Duisburg therefore once again earns its reputation as the driving force in the construction industry. 

A total of 25,000m² of material will be supplied by Xella for the construction of the new National Museum. The Silka XL building system, in 15-24 cm sizes, is primarily used to build the non-structural internal walls to protection class CS4 at Europe’s largest construction site. For a whole year two truckloads of calcium silicate elements will make their way to Oslo every day! 

Because the assembly of the individual construction elements takes place at different locations an effective construction process is needed. In order to ensure that these procedures are as efficient as possible, Xella made space-saving and highly mobile mini cranes available right from the beginning of the construction works. Such an extensive construction project means that comprehensive communications are of key importance in the completion of the different building surfaces, therefore Xella has made the complete product documentation available to the specialist consultants. This means that the construction company is no longer involved in the tedious and time-consuming search for information. 

Through the clever use of innovative building materials, the construction company, Statsbygg Oslo, can achieve maximum burglary protection and a full 50 percent lower CO2 balance in comparison with common building requirements! This will allow Picasso’s masters and Munch’s paintings to survive in tip-top condition for many more decades to come. 

© Source: Ken Opprann, Statsbygg / Architects Kleihues+Schuwerk

Modern Elegance against a Gentle Mountain Backdrop

Using a clever concept, the architectural firm Atelier Ducret built a home for a young family in Switzerland that can flexibly adapt to changes in family life. Ytong and Multipor building materials from Xella create a balanced and sustainable room atmosphere in the interior of the home.


The soft, green forms of the Fribourg Alps and the Swiss Jura are an impressive mountain panorama that form an attractive and extremely contrasting backdrop to the simple and linear home situated in the middle of a single-family residential area in St. Ursen in the Swiss canton of Fribourg. Here, the home stands out because of its clear forms and modern elegance. 

Upon entering the family home, residents find themselves in a generous entryway on the lower level. In the basement an open and bright eating and living area invites the family to linger. The temperature is nice and cool here despite the outside summer temperatures. “We owe the good inside temperature to Ytong and Multipor,” says architect Steve Ducret as he touts what he refers to as the biggest advantage of Xella’s aerated concrete. “In the past, windows allowed for an air exchange. Today, façades are becoming more and more airtight. That is a plus in terms of energy savings, but the interior is cut off from the outside.” Ytong and Multipor building products from Xella, the Duisburg-based manufacturer of building materials were used to tackle the problem with a clever combination of a high insulation factor and an efficient exchange of moisture between the interior and the exterior. As a result of the pleasant climate there is no need for residents to air the place every time they come home. 

Insulated from the basement to the roof

By using sustainable materials like aerated concrete and the insulating system, mineral insulation was installed from the ground to the roof, and at the same time a massive and non-flammable façade insulation was added.
Sustainability featured predominantly for Ducret in the construction of the home and its studio which was completed in 2016. The little heating energy which the well-insulated home still needs is provided by a geothermal probe heat pump. The photovoltaic system situated on the roof of the house and the carport delivers around 9 MWh of electricity each year. The solar power is intelligently controlled and used for household electricity, to operate the furnace, and for the electric vehicle. A thermal solar system warms the water, and rain water collection feeds water into the toilet for flushing, the washing machine, and into the garden for watering. And so, the house is almost energy self-sufficient.

Flexible room concept for individual family life 

But it’s not just because of the good interior climate and the high insulation factor that Atelier Ducret has been building for years with Ytong and Multipor. “Since Ytong is also suitable for load-bearing walls, the façades can be built very thinly thus allowing for more living space,” explains Ducret. The home has four floors, but for the statics only the stairwell had to be built load-bearing. If the needs of the family change over time, all of the other interior wallls can be removed and the floor plan can be adapted relatively easily. One example for the flexible room plan as made possible by the innovative building materials is the master bedroom on the top floor. At some point, it and the adjacent terrace that features a view of the Fribourg Alps and the Jura could be converted into a large living room with some minor construction work. Even an extension on the property is already planned with the preexisting foundation and utility lines; a multi-generation house is envisioned. Says Ducret, “Densification is a current topic, and we wanted to create the situation that would allow us to meet future demands. On the southeast side we could build another house.”

© Source: Atelier Ducret