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Lightning protection system at Château d'Illens, a cultural asset of national importance

24.03.2021Equans Switzerland AG
A new lease on life for an exceptional building


The Association Château d'Illens (ACI) commissioned a major project in 2008 to preserve and upgrade this exceptional historic cultural site. The 15th-century castle and the remains of the 12th-century fortress are perched on a rocky outcrop above the Saane River in the municipal area of Gibloux in the canton of Fribourg.


The project is being financed by the federal government, the canton of Fribourg, the municipality of Gibloux, the Loterie Romande, and private foundations and donors.

A unique lightning protection concept


The lightning protection system is the result of a collaboration between the ACI, the Cantonal Buildings Insurance (Kantonale Gebäudeversicherung, KGV Fribourg) and the Office of Archaeology of the State of Fribourg. It was installed in accordance with fire protection guidelines, and serves to protect the castle's timber structures (especially the roof truss and floors) as well as the electrical installations.


Project manager Claudio Spoto and his team were responsible for the work. The three-man team of engineers is from Fribourg, but works throughout French-speaking Switzerland.


Spoto: "The cooperation between all those involved was excellent. Together, we found the best technical solution, which nonetheless did not disturb the overall external appearance of the building. Accessing the site was one of the main difficulties. The material had to be carried the last 800 metres to the castle by hand. You don't get to work on a construction site like this every day!"


Château d'Illens will be opened in 2021 after 13 years of planning, excavation and restoration work. Ultimately, it will be accessible to the public by appointment and used for cultural and private events.