Our job

In the age of sustainability, most architects still see the issue of energy in buildings primarily as a constraint to work on. Particularly in the case of solar energy many of the new technological possibilities and integration potentials are not known and therefore not applied in the current design practice due to perceived barriers. Nowadays, new technological possibilities and inspiring projects of solar architecture have been demonstrated and need to be promoted in order to captivate architects, showing the architectural quality of “solar” and the huge potentials of a multidisciplinary approach bridging energy, design and construction. To appeal to architects, it is important to communicate in their language, in an innovative way and using a more complex approach where energy, architecture and construction are part in a unique design concept.

The main goal of this website is to promote the construction of solar buildings by shifting the attention from technology to architecture. Real examples and stories of best practice prove today the feasibility and the quality of solar buildings in terms of aesthetics, construction technology and sustainability. By emphasizing architecture www.solarchitecture.ch encourages both architects and clients to adopt new building concepts.

New solar building technology enables fascinating design opportunities.
Let architecture be reshaped by renewable energy production.
Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
“Wherever technology reaches its real fulfillment, it transcends into architecture. Architecture wrote the history of the epochs and gave them their names. Architecture depends on its time. That is the reason why technology and architecture are so closely related. ”

The new website, as a multidisciplinary and inclusive Swiss platform on solar energy, will be managed and defined thanks to the collaboration between four main partners.

SUPSI (University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland) is one of the nine professional universities recognized by the Swiss Confederation. Founded under Federal Law, SUPSI offers more than 30 Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree courses, characterized by cutting edge education which unites classical theoretical-scientific instruction with professional orientation. Great care is given to research, carried out in key sectors on competitively acquired projects with large European and national agencies or mandated by organizations and institutions.

ISAAC (Institute for Applied Sustainability to the Built Environment) covers research areas associated with renewable energy, the rational use of energy, the refurbishment and maintenance of buildings and also energy planning at regional and local levels. Research projects are based on a variety of regularly-revised methods, and benefit from productive collaboration agreements with other research units, public bodies, non-governmental organizations and industries. The Institute promotes technological transfer in a number of developing countries.

The Innovative Envelope research team of ISAAC has acquired expertise over last 15 years as a result of various research projects on integrated photovoltaics (BIPV-Building Integrated Photovoltaics) conducted both at national and international level. It hosts the Swiss Competence Centre for BIPV. Research was carried out in collaboration with manufacturers whilst, working closely with architects and installers. Tests were carried out to qualify and validate the new concepts, both in the laboratory and on site under real conditions. The research focuses mainly on the development, analysis, experimentation and demonstration of innovative and sustainable solutions for multi-functional building envelope systems suited to future zero-emission buildings.

ETH is one of the top ranked universities worldwide with more than 21000 students from over 120 countries. The university for science and technology dates back to the year 1855 and has been awarded with 21 Nobel prizes. The annual budget is CHF 1.8 billion which funds 16 departments and competence centers. The Department of Architecture (D-ARCH) has always pursued its unique approach to teaching and research which is characterized by combining academic instruction and practical building activity, a tradition that goes back to the first director of the architecture faculty at ETH Zurich, the prominent intellectual architect and theorist Gottfried Semper.

The Building Technology and Construction (BUK – Bautechnologie und Konstruktion) module follows a bedrock of values in its teaching content: Each semester more than 400 1st and 2nd year undergraduate students and graduate masters students attend lectures in construction for architects. By researching constructional methods of today’s architecture, BUK fosters the adoption of future best practice including solar technology for building purposes. BUK’s publications, such as Made of concrete (Birkhäuser), Livio Vacchini (Park Books), focus on construction and architecture.

Swissolar is the Swiss professional association for solar energy. It represents the Swiss solar industry, designers, installers, producers and other players in the solar industry. Swisssolar are committed to a secure, renewable and resource-saving energy supply for Switzerland by 2050 in which solar energy plays a major role.

Solar architecture is an important element of these efforts. This conceptual approach fosters the construction of buildings that create the greatest possible comfort for users with a minimum energy requirement and make optimum use of the sun’s potential. Various topics such as energy, technology, design, construction, ecology and economy are incorporated into architecture.

Swissolar hosts an expert commission on solar construction to exchange current and future developments of solar construction and its further development.

The Swiss Energy program was set up by the Swiss Federal Council to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. The program sensitizes public opinion in Switzerland towards energy issues, promotes innovative projects and supports training and professional development. The program significantly contributes to the development and visibility of new innovations. Swiss Energy provides advice on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Sounding Board is a reference organisation whose aim is to support Solarchitecture project’s partners in the decision making process of content quality. The members of the Sounding Board have a number of different approaches and visions and are involved in various areas of the construction industry (architects, institutions, universities and authors) all over Switzerland.

Support is currently provided by the following members:

Architect Niklaus Haller – BS2 Building Systems and Solutions
Mr. Paul Knuesel – ESPAZIUM
Architect Ludovica Molo – President FSA
Architect. Axel Simon – Hochparterre AG
Architect Karl Viridén – Viridén and Partner AG