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Innovative timber construction showcases VELUX Modular Skylights

In Romont, the Association du communes pour le Cycle d'Orientation de la Glâne (COG) has built a new three-storey school, cultural and sports centre with a swimming pool.

The new swimming area with four pools (swimming pool, diving pool, teaching pool and paddling pool) and sports area with fitness and gymnastics rooms as well as concert rooms replaced an outdated predecessor building.

The complex, which was built by GNWA - Gonzalo Neri & Weck Architekten GmbH from Zurich, also includes a wellness area and a restaurant. The clear design of the swimming pool's interior is based on reduced and robust materials – the interplay of exposed concrete, wood, light and water. Single-storey transparent façades connect the interior with the surroundings.

Solutions for daylight 

The architects were convinced about the benefits of vertical sunlight and were adamant about searching for solutions to realise their vision. With Modular Skylights, the room is bathed in homogenous light via the strip lighting spanning the two main pools and the entrance area. A total of 282 Modular Skylights in various dimensions were installed in continuous rows above the two main pools. The two additional pools are not double-height, and so rely on façade windows only. This decision allowed for the placing of solar panels.

Harmonious contrasts

The functional layout of both floors and the visual appearance of the spaces are strongly connected with the building's load-bearing structure. The narrow, minimalist staircases and corridors contrast with the generous rooms along the façades. Daylight penetrates the building from the top, providing for a friendly, summery atmosphere in the two main pools.

Structure is architecture

While many rooms in the building form a series of closed chambers, the spaces along the façades remain open. Different areas form an enfilade, defined by the prominent concrete load-bearing beams. In the sports area on the upper level, where the light comes in through a long façade window, visible beams form a sculptural ceiling. Raw concrete walls contribute to the serene character of the interior.  

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Architectural drawings

Products used in project

1 x Longlight

Longlight 5-30°

A mono-pitched solution ideal for flat roofs

Illustration of Longlight solution Read more

Number of modules: 282 

  • 2 x modules 5°-30°, 800x800 mm  
  • 1 x module 5°-30°, 900x800 mm  
  • 4 x modules 5°-30°, 1000x800 mm  
  • 1 x module 5°-30°, 750x1000 mm  
  • 4 x modules 5°-30°, 1000x1000 mm  
  • 8 x modules 5°-30°, 675x1200 mm  
  • 95 x modules 5°-30°, 750x1200 mm  
  • 35 x modules 5°-30°, 900x1200 mm  
  • 132 x modules 5°-30°, 1000x1200 mm  

Longlight 5-30°

A mono-pitched solution ideal for flat roofs

Illustration of Longlight solution Read more

Markus Weck, GNWA - Gonzalo Neri & Weck Architekten GmbH

With VELUX Modular Skylights, the desired spatial effect could be realised with economically justifiable effort. (...) By using skylights, the two-storey rooms inside the building volume could be illuminated, thus reducing the proportion of façade openings, which now frame the landscape in staged sections.

Continuous rooflights as an architectural design element

A special focus is on the ceiling construction above the swimming pools and the foyer, which was designed as a timber construction in the form of trusses inclined in pairs and embeds the Modular Skylights continuous rooflights.

The timber construction not only serves to direct the light and as an acoustic element, but also covers the insulated upstands at the ends of the continuous rooflights. To prevent condensation on the glass surfaces, the ventilation ducts were routed through the roof structure.   

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