Jan Henrik Hansen Architects
Langnau am Albis, Switzerland
Project Year
Roger Frei


Jan Henrik Hansen Architects as Architects

The point of the expansion of the established sports center was the desire to extend the offer to the increasingly popular sport of badminton. The spatial and operational connection to the existing infrastructure with reception, changing rooms and café was at the forefront of the design tasks. Initial point of the design outline was the need to place the new building on the existing car park, south of the plot. In addition to the limited budget, a further challenge was the expeditious execution of the construction work, as this would severely affect and restrict the ongoing operations and the use of parking spaces.

As a primary goal, however, set by the building owners, was to create optimal conditions for the badminton game inside the hall. It soon became clear that a flat, open space to the surroundings would be created in the existing parking space, as opposed to a very high, enclosed space that would be housed in the interior of the hall. To meet the different requirements of the overlying spaces by appropriate means, we chose two specific construction methods. The supporting framework of the hall was a "table" of prefabricated, not insulated concrete - elements that could be installed at high stability in a very short time on site. The hall itself was designed as a steel skeleton with insulated cladding and optimized at the factory for fast assembly. The dimensions of the five adjacently arranged badminton courts defined the rhythm of the primary support structure, remaining readable both inside and out. In the parking level, it was a priority for us to reach the structural requirements with the greatest possible transparency and respect to the surroundings.

This led us to develop V- shaped supports, which take over the stiffening of the building in the transverse direction instead of shear walls or other obscuring measures. In the design of the hall, it was necessary to efficiently exploit the limited allowable building volume of the plot, from which the polygonal geometry of the building body emerged. The hall climbs just over the playing fields, meeting the clear height requirements, and falls down steeply to the side circulation area with the sitting benches. Thus, the build volume is actually generated only where it is essential. In order to achieve optimal game conditions inside the hall, experiences of professional players were obtained and their recommendations were implemented. The research revealed that the visibility of the shuttles (shuttlecock) is increased proportionally to the contrast of the background. To optimally pick up the bright ball from the wall, ceiling and floor, all inner surfaces of the hall were realized in matt, non-reflecting anthracite and the sports floor of the playing fields stained dark. The lighting complies with the requirements of professional standards and is continuously dimmable respectively on the right and left of the playing fields, assembled at an ideal height with filters against glare. On the sloping inner walls, printed textile surfaces are used for sound absorption and for labeling the courts. The connection of the overlaying upper floor to the existing infrastructure on the ground floor is via a newly created stairway. Their railings were designed here with a specific pattern, at the entrance of the new building creating already a characteristic identity. Thus, the perforation of the balustrade panels represents the trajectories of Badminton`s basic strokes (Smash, Drive, Drop etc.) while saving weight and cost. On the east and west side of the sport hall, floor to ceiling picture windows are arranged. These offer to the players, on one hand, a glare-free view and on the other hand they give life and activate the environment with the activities of the hall. Since all train, main road and hiking path lead past directly in front of these windows, the gesture may be seen as an unobtrusive advertising for the sport.

Text : Jan Henrik Hansen and Rolf Iseli

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