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How to Move House in Switzerland – Quite Literally!

As many of you may know, the former headquarters of Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon – the entire building – was moved 60 m/197 ft southwest to make room for more train tracks.

The structure weighs 6'200 tonnes, is 80 m/262 ft long, and 12 m/39 ft wide. It took engineers two days to move the 123 year old building on 500 steel rollers along a track to its new destination.

MFO Building Move - Oerlikon

The heritage property reportedly cost around CHF 11 mi to move – paid by ABB, the current owner of the building. This may seem a bit steep, but as a former MFO employee was quoted as saying to the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, "(In Switzerland), we've paid more for a lot stupider things."

Barbara Flueckiger, Film Studies Professor at the University of Zurich, whose office is directly across from the MFO building, used her iPad to film the move out of her window as it occurred:


A published travel writer with roots in Switzerland and Canada, Katrin runs a truly mobile one-person office. She often works from the road as she zips across Switzerland by train or bicycle. Thus the name of her blog: Today's Office Looks Like This.


  • Sad I wasn’t there to check this out. I remember reading about it last summer. Oerlikon was our old stomping grounds and I was always fond of the building. So glad they didn’t tear it down.

    • Hi Allison: Spending 11 million Francs on this project seemed outrageous at first, but aren’t we all glad that the building is still around? ;-)

  • Dimitri if they were moving some Swiss block style apartment building I would totally raise my eyebrow. But a beautiful brick one like that. So glad it’s still there for years to come. :)

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