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Glaserhaus - Affoltern im Emmental, Switzerland

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The aim of the project and the associated construction measures is to repair the existing and restore the original condition.


The floor plans will be spatially and functionally separated, with the aim of consistently uncovering the core building from 1765 on all floors.


This restoration is connected with the aim of preserving the overall appearance of the building, repairing the roof, facades and surroundings and carefully restoring the prestigious south facade.


From a technical point of view, the building is solidly stabilised and energetically brought up to the latest standards.


The project was developed with the involvement of the cantonal monument preservation authorities.


Several meetings and inspections took place, on the basis of which the project was further developed in accordance with the requirements of the preservation of historical monuments.


The 250 years old house is, as the name “Glaserhaus” (glazier house) explain itself, important for her iconic south front, which appears with a multitude of windows.


The three-storeys house is crowned by a roundabout. The eaves-sided upper floor arcades are closed. The house shows also contoured woods (braided bows) and a distinguished grey frame.


Unfortunately, the general state of the building was near to collapse, imposing a big intervention.


The shape and the volume of the building have primary relevance on the conservation of this historic house, together with the south front.


A massive part of the structure was no longer safe, including the roof. It has been renovated following the original quarter hipped shape.


Since its construction, the building has always been inhabited but has never had a direct link with the cultivated fields around it.


In 2012 the new owners had to intervene both to improve energy efficiency and to improve the statics with the aim to restore the house to its original appearance.


The most important measure was the structural and constructive overhaul of the house.




Timber wall: Facades have been restored to their very first appearance.


The state right before the intervention presents a shingle cladding which has been added in a later intervention during the 250 years long life of this building.


For this reason, the renovation shows a wood cladding that replicates the original one and that will turn grey in a few years, giving back to the house her old charm. Some parts, visible on the south facade, are actually original.


The building was in a very decadent state before renovation. For this reason, the structure has been largely renovated, whereas all the internal cladding consists in original reused wood.


As far as the energetic improvement is concerned, only the southern front was not thermally insulated due to protection constraints of historic buildings, that in this case were severe regarding the maintaining of the window front as close as the original as possible (the intervention was possible directly on windows, as described in the dedicated part of this article).


Other facades improved with the insertion of the solar thermal insulation between the wooden rafters, reaching the Minergie-P standard.


  • U-value (pre-intervention) [W/m2K]: 3,0 W/m²K
  • U-value (post-intervention) [W/m2K]: 0,16 W/m²K



  • Heating: The heat is generated using two geothermal boreholes made of polyethylene pipes which are laid in the ground with a deep bore hole. The heat for the heating system is generated with a water heat pump. The hot water preparation is carried out by a 1'000l combi storage system. The heat pump, the heating group, the free-cooling function and the DHW preparation are regulated or controlled by the projected regulation.
  • Ventilation: The building has ventilation with opening of windows, no mechanical ventilation. The airtightness of the windows has been largely improved while maintaining the appearance in accordance with the historical monuments.
  • Air-conditioning: The heat load occurring in summer is extracted from the building with the floor heating pipes and released into the ground via the geothermal probe. In summer, the building can also be passively cooled with the system. The water circulating in the underfloor heating absorbs excess heat and transfers it via a heat exchanger to the brine circuit and then to the ground. The cooling system is integrated in the heating distribution (radiating floor) and doesn’t involve any intervention that requires conservation compatibility.



Photovoltaics: This intervention demonstrates the potential PV implementation in a protected building and within a sensible landscaping heritage.


The solar tiling completely replace the roof surface. The homogeneous solar cladding, extended to the whole roof area, creates a clear recognizability/expression of PV respecting the general lines and the morphology of the pre-existing building typology.


Twelve skylights that can be opened are integrated into the solar roof to increase daylighting inside the building and to allow natural ventilation.


The project was awarded with the swiss solar price 2016. On the roof of the special craftsmen's house, which is a listed building, a fully integrated photovoltaic system was installed.


The modules take over the function of the water-bearing layer, therefore it is an in-roof system.


More information can be found here.

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