by Jakob Schoof

Architectural design, ecological aspirations and a high standard of education enter into a close symbiosis in the Austrian federal state of Vorarlberg. For the young people who use it, the classrooms and corridors of the energy-efficient timber building offer plenty of room for movement and an abundant supply of daylight.

The secondary school in Klaus conceived by Dietrich | Untertrifaller set standards in this regard as long as 14 years ago. The architects have now supplemented the school with a gymnastics and multipurpose hall that is based on the same planning principles.

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The exterior of the sports hall changes with the shifting light

Towards the street, the new annex is closed off by a windowless wall with timber cladding, but the interior spaces allow daylight to stream in. In the main corridor, which separates the sports hall in the south from the group rooms in the north, a continuous strip of skylights opens up a clear view of the sky.

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Contrasts of light at the secondary school in Klaus, Austria

Above the hall, a cross-laminated timber girder grid supports the roof and admits daylight at the same time. Between the roof beams, the architects inserted 56 ‘daylight pyramids’ made of birch plywood, each of which has a flat roof window at the top. Neighbouring pyramids always have different cross-sections so that daylight is evenly distributed throughout the hall, irrespective of where the sun stands in the sky. Some of the flat roof windows can be opened electrically, which makes them an essential component in the ventilation concept of the building.


Daylight streams into the sports hall

Location: Treietstrasse 17, Klaus, Austria Client: Municipality of Klaus
Architects: Dietrich | Untertrifaller, Bregenz
Daylighting design: teamgmi, Schaan

This article can be found in D/A | SPRING 2016 | ISSUE 25

Photography by Adam Mørk and Daniel Blaufuks