St. Gerold riding arena
Extraordinary construction spanned by timber girders on the underside of the roof
St. Gerold’s Priory
Architekten Hermann Kaufmann ZT GmbH, Schwarzach, A
merz kley partner ZT GmbH, Dornbirn
The St. Gerold priory, which is part of the Einsiedeln monastery and is situated on a south facing slope, has gradually been convertedinto a conference and cultural centre since the 1960s. The wide range of services this centre offers to socially disadvantagedgroups was expanded by incorporating an indoor riding arena for equestrian therapy plus horseboxes. The slope of the site had a major impact on the design. A supporting wall about three metres high separates the riding area from the surroundingterrain, and a lean-to roof covers it over. Despite its large volume, the building fits well into the terrain. Large doors can be slid back to connect it to a riding yard in front of the building. An extensively glazed, wooden skeleton structure with glazing elements fitted directly into the load-bearing components and secured by pressure bars sits atop the reinforced-concrete supportingwalls. Only the hay store on the gable end side is enclosed, with natural wood cladding. The hall, which is approximately 15 x 30 metres wide, is spanned by girders on the underside of the roof, without the need for vertical supports. Despite major snow loads of more than 400 kg/m2 , the supports have a delicate appearance. This is achieved by positioning a ribbed rebar steel tie member on the underside of every other girder, with two compression rods on its lower intersection supporting the girder at intervals equal to a third of the girder’s length. Four additionalcompression rods each transfer half of the load of the two neighbouring beams into the lower spanning member. This arrangementreduces the span length of all the beams to a third of the hall’s width. The dimensions of the individual constructionelements were precisely defined according to the required load-bearing capacity, creating a nuanced variety of dimensions. The unusual wood construction gives the interior space its distinctiveatmosphere. Its mood and interesting character have made it a popular concert venue.