Gymnasium Thun, Switzerland

Competition entry for the proposed new two-court sports hall and classrooms for the visual arts in Thun, Switzerland.

In summer 2020, VOSS Architects took part in an open competition for a two-court sports hall and classrooms for the local grammar school in Thun, Switzerland (31 entries submitted)

The competition entry was developed in collaboration with ZPF Ingenieure, Menarvis Landschaftsarchitektur, Amstein Walthert and Rapp Infra.

The site for the new building is located opposite the existing triple-court sports hall in the Dürrenast district of Thun, just a few minutes’ walk from the main building of the grammar school.

The proposed compact building volume has a floor area of 42 x 42.5 metres. The setting of the proposed construction on the site has been carefully chosen to preserved as much usable open space as possible. The balanced positioning of the new building creates a spatial relationship with the existing sports hall, taking into account the noise pollution in the north of the plot and distance to the neighbouring residential buildings. The proportion and height of the new building refers to the surrounding context and enters into a dialogue with them through the architectural form and orientation.

The entrance to the new sports hall and class rooms is located opposite the existing sports hall in the south-west corner of the new building. The generous entrance hall provides access to the building via a central axis running in a north-south direction. Staircases at both ends of this axis provide separate access to the supporting facilities for the sports hall on the ground and basement floor and on the north side of the upper floor, as well as the classrooms for visual arts on the same level. The changing rooms are located on the ground floor on the west side.

The supporting structure for the upper floor has been developed in such a way that a large continuous room is created on each side of the central axis. This space can be divided up as in our proposal for the classrooms or in other configurations, thus giving the client absolute flexibility for the division of the rooms and possible changes in school operations or conversions in the future.

The new building is designed as a timber structure on a concrete basement with wooden cladding to the facades. The different orientation of the open wooden cladding divides the façades into different areas according to the functions inside, gives the new building proportion and incorporates elements of the wooden cladding of the existing sports hall opposite. The continuous band of windows facing the outside enables the class rooms at the upper floor to relate to its surroundings and, together with the continuous north- facing skylights, provide very good uniform lighting conditions. The all-round Brise du Soleil with its external tendril vegetation shades the class rooms and building depending on the season.

The division of the roofscape into five uniform gabled roofs reflects on the one hand the proportions of the classrooms in combination with the necessary lighting of the upper floor from the north and the installation of photovoltaics to the south, and on the other hand the buildings in the immediate vicinity. The roofs give the new building a very unique and at the same time very familiar character.

The materials used in the interior are robust, yet warm and durable at the same time. The wood of the ceilings and walls gives the rooms warmth and, together with the concrete floor, their very own atmosphere.


© VOSS Architects 2021

© MPVIS, Visualisierung