Bétrix & Consolascio - Switzerland
Sports Hall Herti
General-Guisanstrasse 2, Zug
1997 - 2001



The Herti sports hall by Bétrix & Consolascio is embedded into the periphery on the western outskirts of the city of Zug. In the south of the site, next to the marina,
a recreational zone has been established, so that the atmosphere of a neighborhood
in upheaval can be felt. The city of Zug confirmed the public use of the huge plot
by giving it the status of a sport zone. The adaptation of the area to its current determination has started with the simple marking of the different training fields and
their subdivision by landscaping measures. Later gymnasiums sporadically emerged. Created in the style of industry architectures, they were planned from the beginning
for a limited period; up to know the ice rink, which towered over the construction in the West remembering an aircraft hangar, was already destructed.
The Herti sports hall has set new standards of quality, one can see the efforts to establish a more precise architectural expression and the wish for a higher level of comfort
in the interior. The improved accessability of this sports zone for the city and the region, show that the availability of public facilities has reached a magnitude
which represents new challenges for the architecture.

The Herti sports hall rises out of this context, marked by steady changes, as an autonomous box free from any geometric references to the existing orientations.
The self-referential building with a square floor plan not even tries to create urban space situations, which are here anyway nonexistent. The voidages and interspaces
correspond to anything but the conventional figures: They simply broach the continued existence of the open space of the Allmend, which has been converted into
a sports terrain. The completely impermeable envelope forms a strong demarcation between enclosed space and surroundings. The athletes reach the basement
of the hall on the west side by a 2.5 m wide "narrow pass" to the. The leveling of the hall floor responds to the unstable subsoil. By using special foundations,
which are created by a pool about 1 m below the water level, it was generated a pressure effect, which made it possible to reduce the number of piles.
On the other three sides, the building is surrounded by a planted area on which it appears detached from the surrounding area, giving the impression to swim
like a slightly submerged body. On all four sides, staircases of emergency exits connect to the terrain up or down. A wide ramp connects the lawns with the main
entrance, which is 1.5 meters above street level. These ingredients do not affect the legibility of the building exterior, in particular, the doors provide a reference to
the scale of the people. From a distance, neither transparency nor a symbol determine the use of this object. And Every effort is made to cultivate the mystery
to arouse curiosity and elicit admiration.

The building impresses passersbies with its simple, large volume shimmering in all colors. The building does not disclose his identity symbolically,
which requires the ability of decoding; it rather tries to claim uniqueness, namely the fact that it triggers emotions in a place where they are not suspected.
From the pure purpose of the hall the architects wished to distil a spiritual element which should be able to radiate to the surroundings.
The design of the façade is a combination of structural know-how and
plastic creativity and was intended to convey a contemporary sporty aura.
The two glass façade has neither base nor final. Glass, which is normally used to bring daylight into the interior, is used here differently.
Since backlight is undesired in practicing sports, the glass is not used for its transparency but to enable
layers lying immediately behind the facade
to shine through to the outside. Analogous to the reverse glass painting, which requires a special technique and complex execution, Betrix & Consolascio developed
a technique of reverse glass architecture for the construction of the Herti sports hall, in which the visibility of the inner function from the outside is not the aim,
but the visual interaction between the elements which are disguised, and which are covered. From the standpoint of the constructive logic of this surface treatment,
which also makes visible the layering of the architectural envelope, is considered an original answer to the question of the tectonics of the ventilated façade construction.