Intercantonal forestry school and education centre, Lyss BE

Wood on wood

With the exception of the concrete base which is 160 metres in length, the entire three-storey forestry school is made of wood.  In the 1990s this represented a pioneering architectural feat.

Originally the building was conceived as having a concrete skeleton but it was then built entirely of wood - in the course of which novel ways of achieving timber joints were developed.

The agenda of exploring the limits of wood as a contemporary building material was complemented by the desire to create an ecological model: all the wood comes from Switzerland, and it is second-class material which is available in abundance. A building shell optimised for energy efficiency, woodchip heating, heat recovery, solar power and water retention complete the programme.

The four adjoining, cube-shaped wooden buildings form part of the boarding school.

Year 1997
Contact person Christoph Arpagaus
Client Foundation Inter-cantonal Foresters College
Architect / General planner Itten+Brechbühl AG
Competition 1st prize 1991
Start of construction 1994
Start of operation 1997
Floor area 12 000 m2
Construction volume 46 000 m3
Awards SIB Architecture Award
Prize Nature & Economics Award
Photos Hans Ege, Luzern
Georg Aerni, Zurich