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Rescuing Swiss Heritage
03 December 2012
Appenzell is a Swiss canton with a hilly and agricultural landscape dotted with small villages. The two main attributes this region is famous for are the Appenzell cheese and a log construction technique, called the Strickbau. But the later appears to be on the verge of disappearance. Scientists, monument
preservationists and craftsmen therefore decided to pool their strength to find the best possible way of restoring old Strickbau buildings and of optimising their energy efficiency.
This effort financed by the European research project 3ENCULT aims at ensuring conservation of the region’s architectural heritage and at offering current Strickbau residents all the amenities of modern living standards.
Simone Reeb from the Civil Engineering Department at the Technical University Darmstadt, Germany, and her team studied the best way to insulate the Strickbau structures, and therefore to minimise energy costs. They tackled this issue by applying internal insulation mats made of wood wool, by adding new tight windows and by regulating the heating and ventilation of individual rooms.
About 160 sensors measure the surface temperature, relative air humidity and absolute air humidity on a regular basis, to help scientists keep track of all changes in each room.
Compared to modern buildings, the level of comfort in the old Strickbau buildings is far from reaching today’s standards. The rooms are often small and only 1.70 metres high. There is no space for a large bathroom or living room. This explains why the old Strickbau buildings are often abandoned or even demolished.
The findings of the 3ENCULT research project could therefore help preserve an old traditional building technique while modernising these houses at reasonable costs and ensuring the conservation of the local heritage buildings.
By Corinna Engelhardt