© Eckhard Ernst
© Eckhard Ernst


Chapel of Rest Schönaich

Order Volume

300 m²


Planungsbüro Eckhard Ernst





Building Type

Sacral Building

Chapel of Rest Schönaich

Schönaich, Germany

Light and Wood - OKAWOOD modulates the incoming daylight in the Chapel of Rest in Schönaich

A simple glass cube as a modern answer to ever-changing burial practices: the new Chapel of Rest in Schönaich. OKAWOOD modulates the incoming light and creates a special atmosphere.

In the past, burials were traditionally the role of large religious denominations. This is changing, however, with the growing number of nondenominational people or those who practice different religions. The increasing trend of turning burials from church events into communal events has created a need for corresponding facilities. As a result, the community of Schönaich erected a new Chapel of Rest that is now available for all mourners as a place of meditation.

Eckhard Ernst, architect from Stuttgart, won the competition with his simple, glass cube design. Directly adjacent to the historical Protestant church and the parish hall erected in

the 1920’s, this light-filled hall formally makes reference to the modern utilisation concept with four laying-out and adjoining rooms.

The construction uses a wooden pillar and beam construction with a depth of 40 centimetres, respectively. The glass façade is made of insulating glass with an interlayer made of wooden louvres in the krypton filled cavity. The “OKAWOOD” system of the insulating glass specialists OKALUX in Marktheidenfeld makes it possible to connect the hall with the park-like cemetery, while simultaneously protecting the privacy of those attending the ceremony during the day. The interlayer made of eleven millimetre wide meranti wood louvres cause the incoming light to change correspondingly to the different times of the day and according to the weather, thus creating a very special atmosphere in the room. “The result surpassed our high expectations,” says Eckhard Ernst.

We were able to do without external sun protection thanks to the good solar energy transmittance of OKAWOOD (25 percent light transmission on the south side at low sun position and 15 percent at high sun position). This allows the surrounding environment to be reflected in the glass surface without obstructions. At the same time, omission of sun protection also means lower assembly costs and easier cleaning of the facades.

The glass elements on the inside are made of 8-millimetre thick toughened glass with UV and thermal control coating. The cavity with the wooden interlayer is 18 millimetres. The outer pane is also made of 8-millimetre thick toughened glass in the upper beam elements, whereas in the lower beam elements laminated safety glass has been used.

The building environmental system is just as ingeniously simple as the structure itself. The building is ventilated via a mechanical system. It sucks fresh air through the hidden floor ducts and directs the air at the base of the façade into the room. Ceiling fans ensure the necessary depression. There are no opening wings. In summer, sufficient cooling can be reached at night and, in winter, the radiators warm the fresh air in the ducts. In addition the building also has thermally active components in some sections of the floor plate.