Multi-Purpose Hall in Klaus - Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten; Photos: Adam Mørk
Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten

In year 2001 Dietrich l Untertrifaller Architekten won a competition for a school building for the municipality of Klaus in Vorarlberg, Austria. A modern, ecological building with classrooms was connected via a library wing to an old sports hall. A sunny, slightly sloped green schoolyard with a view towards the alps is located on the north side of the wings. A walkway under the cantilevered library tract connects the school entrance with the sports hall and allows for outdoor activities on rainy days. In the second phase of the project, twelve years later, the office was commissioned to refurbish the sport facilities. A brief analysis showed that not only the structure, but also the functions of the old sports hall with swimming pool were outdated, and its best to replace them with a new building.

Currently the volume houses a large playing field with tribunes and a separate room for dance and a multi-function area, where midday care service for schoolchildren, various kinds of meetings and even lessons can take place.

The architects decided to plan the extension according to the design principles that prove to be successful in the first project phase. Simple volumes with wooden structure and claddings open up to the sunlight through the roofs. All load-bearing concrete walls and stairs are visible.

A rectangular volume is accessible from two levels, following the terrain: the entrance under the library wing leads to an open ground floor, while another one on the opposite side accesses directly the upper floor with open space, where a variety of tables invites various user groups.

Multi-Purpose Hall in Klaus with VELUX windowsArchitecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten; Photos: Patricia Weisskirchner

Peter Nussbaumer

architect at Dietrich l Untertrifaller Architekten

My favourite place in the building is the multi-function area just at the entrance. At midday, the children are playing under a big skylight, on the right the space opens towards the playground, its floor adorned with an array of sunny spots.

Multi-Purpose Hall in Klaus with VELUX windows
Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten; Photo: Adam Mørk

Both buildings, the school and the sports hall, proof that high-quality architecture can be resource-friendly and economical. Many elements could be prefabricated to minimize the cost and usage of material.

The ceiling of the sports hall, playful and irregular at first glance, consists of prefabricated units: “pyramides” with a flat roof VELUX window with dome cover on top. Four types with different tilt angle were produced: careful placement and rotation of the elements created an effect of a playfully irregular ceiling.


 Multi-Purpose Hall in Klaus with VELUX roof windows
Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten; Photo: Adam Mørk

Prefabrication of light shafts was a crucial element in ensuring a precise detailing, both indoors as well as on the roof surface. After the wooden frames had been brought to the site and mounted, it took only a couple of days to insert VELUX flat roof windows and add insulation layers.

Each of the 56 light shafts is cladded on the inside with noise protection panels. These enhance the acoustics of the room even further beyond the positive impact of the ceiling's geometry. Artificial light, mounted between the elements, underlines rigid geometry of the structure. The flat roof windows are equipped with rain sensors and sun protection.

Project details

Project: Multi-Purpose Hall
Location: Klaus, Austria 
Architect: Dietrich I Untertrifaller Architeckten  
Year: 2014
Photos: Adam Mork / Patricia Weisskirchner