Elementary School in Schmitten

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The design concept was driven by the demand for a building that would facilitate and encourage social interaction among its users (schoolchildren).

Traffic pattern and movement within the space inform the educational, social and architectural idiom. The building layout shuns the traditional level floors in favor of a spiral ramp which seamlessly unifies the interior space and fulfils the architectural imperative of a space that is conducive to social contact.

The ramp concourse is punctuated by the rooms themselves (class rooms, access points and cloakrooms). This curving walkway and “parcours architectural” links the internal features of the school, such as the classrooms and communal areas, with the immediate outside environment, including the roof garden. The result is a cohesive architectural whole.

The shape of the rooms is the result of taking a square and dividing it along its axes of symmetry. Staggered along each curve of the ramp are eight rooms, each some 40 cm higher than the previous one. Every fifth segment of the sphere is a communal area (cloakroom or access point), thus giving rhythm to the central space.

The serigraph of the facade is the result of techniqual objectives on one hand and design intention. The design intention is to have a all around-glass facade that gets by without a mobile solar protection. The techniqual objective was to utilize the insolation as a source of heat in the winter and to reduce the heat in the summer. The serigraph consisting of a opaque surface, covers a certain percentage of the facade. This percentage was defined by the calculations of the engeniers. In this way the serigraph functions as a immovable solar protection. Out of this results the design of the different modules of the facade which are based on the scale of proportions of the modulor. The intellectual basis of the building is the combination of two basic geometric forms: The layout consists of a circle and a square. Pertinent to the space the two forms are the ashlar and the cylinder. From the exterior the ashlar doesn’t reveal the cylinder shape of the interior.

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