In 2013, Skop architects won a competition to design a school in Zurich, Switzerland, that’s a picture of sustainability. The resulting prefabricated building is constructed from carbon sequestering wood harvested from sustainably managed forests. Inside, the structure is optimized for heat recovery and uses efficient LED lighting.
All good and well, but the star of the school is, by far, its roof. The zigzagging rooftop is striking as a piece of formal architecture. Its undulating pitches appear to echo the surrounding hills—their shape a lovely geometric contrast to the simple wooden facade.
But the roof has another benefit that’s a little harder to see. Spread across the angled roof is an array of solar panels—more than 1,100 to be exact. The array covers the entirety of the building and feeds into a local power supply. All told, the building is able to generate enough energy to power the entire 180,000 square foot school plus 50 surrounding houses. Not too shabby.