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Daylight & Architecture

A view of the sky
Conversion of a stable in Tschagguns

Like many Alpine locations, the Vorarl-berg municipality of Tschagguns lives primarily from tourism, whereas farming is on the retreat. In some cases, however, at least the architectural heritage of the past can be saved. Such is the case with a stable from the end of the 19th century that architect Bernard Breuer has converted into a home. The existing building had a beautifully ornate wooden facade that had been blackened by the weather over time. At its north-east corner, it featured a solid ashlar base − the other facades were made of simple wooden boards, through the cracks of which the wind would whistle.

   Behind this old shell, Bernhard Breuer inserted new interior walls and ceilings with surgical precision, mainly making use of traditional carpentry techniques. From the outside, the former stable can still be easily recognised but large windows with narrow frames now allow copious amounts of daylight into the living areas. There is also an abundance of light on the upper floor thanks to three roof windows. At night, the owners can contemplate the unique starlit sky above the Alps through the same roof windows. The opposite side of the roof, which faces south-west, is used for energy generation. Photovoltaic and solar thermal modules supply the house with electricity and meet a large part of the heating needs.

Mühleweg 2, Tschagguns, Austria
Rosa Breuer
Bernhard Breuer, Schruns
A view of the sky - Daylight and Architecture Magazine
A view of the sky - Daylight and Architecture Magazine



Public health is gaining increasing attention worldwide. Yet one important aspect of it is still largely disregarded − the impact of buildings on the health and well-being of people who spend 90% of their time indoors.

Sir Winston Churchill already acknowledged that just as we shape our buildings, buildings shape us. This also has economic consequences; for every euro spent by a company on the construction of an office building, five euros are spent on operating costs during the life cycle of the building − and 95 euros on the salaries of the people who work in the building. The well-being and productivity of the workforce are thus major assets, which crucially depend on the quality of the spaces.

Buildings are there to be used; their success largely depends on what happens after their construction or renovation. Yet the data and knowledge about the actual building performance is not yet available in the planning and acquisition phase. As a consequence, clients are often unsure what specifically to ask for. What experiences can be applied to inform future decisions in building design and engineering? Which tools are available to ensure that a building is beneficial to its users?

You can’t manage what you can’t measure – this business advice by the U.S. economist Peter Drucker is at the heart of Daylight/Architecture 29. In three major chapters, the magazine explores how we can move forward through feedback.

The first chapter presents some of the science around buildings and their impact on human beings in a light and accessible way. Here the Danish cartoonist Halfdan Pisket has staged a fictitious dialogue between a building user and the space around him. Together they discuss how, according to Winston Churchill, buildings ‘shape’ their users in terms of health, physical well-being and emotions.

Then follows an overview of the planning schemes and evaluation methods that building owners and planners can use to design and document building performance. Some schemes focus mainly on the design and construction of buildings, while others also include building monitoring and user surveys during occupancy.
We believe that such a reality check is essential if buildings are to fulfil the promises of their clients and the expectations of their users. In addition, vital lessons can be learnt from building evaluation, which will increase the quality of the construction industry in the long term.

With science and theory in place, and the necessary tools at hand, the third chapter of this issue shows 15 buildings in which the indoor climate, air quality and occupant satisfaction have been verified during operation. We cannot yet derive benchmarks from these examples but we hope that they will encourage building professionals and their clients to demand feedback, and learn from it. This is a key tool to release the huge social and economic benefits in healthier buildings.

Enjoy the read!
The VELUX Group

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