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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

Daylight connecting communities


With this issue of Daylight/Architecture, we are inviting you on a journey to four special places of collective experience - where daylight is one of the most important means of creating an inviting atmosphere.

We take off from the Pantheon in Rome, a magical location that has been fascinating people for centuries with an article by Adrian Carter, who forges a bridge between the former Roman temple and two more recent buildings that embody another kind of social gathering; Jørn Utzon's Bagsvaerd church near Copenhagen and the newly opened Newport Islamic Centre from 2017 by Glenn Murcutt in Melbourne. Utzon’s and Murcutt’s building are deeply embedded in the local context, enabling their visitors to experience daylight in new and unprecedented ways.

This connects them to the next building: The Naoshima Hall in Honmura, created by Hiroshi Sambuichi, a venue for sports and cultural events and part of a greater transformation strategy for the islands in south Japan's inland sea. Sambuichi uses 'moving materials' like daylight and fresh air to create an optimum indoor climate for the users of the hall. The FRAC museum in Dunkirk designed by Lacaton & Vassal integrates an abandoned dockyard hall in its monumental dimensions in order to create a space for future and unforeseen uses. The building's light-flooded, lightweight envelope makes it possible to experience the sea climate on the coast of the English Channel even inside the building.

Taken together, these examples illustrate how daylight in buildings moves people – psychologically and physically, individually and collectively. Dedicated architects can use this potential to connect communities and improve their quality of life.

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