New primary school Brüggli, Romanshorn, Switzerland, competition (2022)
The new school building site is closed off to the north and west by the street and its geometry follows the alignment of the buildings in the surrounding neighbourhood. The building will be placed in the centre of the perimeter in the northern part of the site, leaving the entire southern part free for landscape and playgrounds. Framed by Kamorstrasse, the planned new building refers to the existing street alignments, intersections and junctions. The building height gently follows the volumes of the surrounding buildings and naturally continues them, so that the open character of the settlement remains undisturbed. The new building is located 10/11 m from the nearest buildings across the street to the west and 18/20 m from the houses to the east. The building is a rectangular volume with a square plan projection of 27 x 27 m and a height of 8 m under a pyramidal roof to a total height of 10 m.
Despite the building’s slightly larger footprint, its low height and mostly vertical subdivisions give the feeling of a smaller volume that does not disturb the existing area of relatively small and low-volume buildings in the immediate vicinity. As proposed, the main entrance to the site is on the west and the main entrance to the school is on the south facade, where a small part of the building moves inwards a bit, creating a ground floor loggia to create a spacious covered area in front of it. On the opposite north side of the building, directly in front of the car park, there is a side entrance intended for deliveries, which is also slightly set back. The car park itself includes 6 parking spaces, 1 space for people with disabilities and a free parking space for delivery only.
Next to it, there is also space to cross with a bicycle and next to the side entrance, there is also the bicycle storage room. The facility’s garden spaces are arranged with exterior entrances on the east ground floor facade for easy access to the main garden areas. The southern part of the site is left for landscape and playgrounds with small elevations that naturally enclose and separate it from the surrounding road. The main playground along with a separate small covered area of 25 m2 is located on the west part of the site and the main football playground is on the east side of the site. In addition, as proposed, special zones with natural avenues, sandy playgrounds and cultivated areas are planned in the southern part of the school grounds.
The main entrance of the school leads to a free, open interior area in the middle of the ground floor, which serves as a presentation and event area as well as a communication area. The kindergarten with a group room and a small cloakroom area is located in the southwestern part of the ground floor. The larger cloakroom is in the outdoor area next to the main entrance. Right next to it are the staff room and the material room. In the north-western part is the day structure together with the office/kitchen. In the northern part there are all sanitary rooms, and in the central east facade is the vertical connection – a closed staircase and elevator. Immediately next to the sanitary rooms and the two-storey air space, a second flight of stairs is planned to connect the ground floor and the 1st floor.
On the second level are the four classrooms together with 4 group rooms and the 2 special rooms. All rooms are connected to the secure staircase with internal corridor circulation around the indoor air space with a line of sight between the two levels. The basement with the shelter and all technical rooms is located under a little more than half of the ground floor area. Also on this level are the research room and the caretaker’s office. The interior design concept is organized around the use of natural and possibly locally produced materials. The main idea is to create a beautiful, clean and calm interior background for the small children, which will not disturb but stimulate the creative and learning process, while not creating a boring, sterile environment.
All structural elements are planned to be seen in their natural texture and colour, allowing the whole project to benefit from the beauty of natural wood and the architecture honestly revealing its fundamental elements. The interior walls in the open areas will continue the line and also use natural wood panels in combination with some other natural elements, for example, hempcrete walls with exposed self-supporting wood structure. The interior ceilings are to be clad with wood fibre panels between the main beams. The ceiling of the air interior is to be covered with perforated acoustic panels made of natural wood. The flooring of the main internal open zones consists of light, durable linoleum tiles with a terrazzo texture.
The handrails are made of natural wood in a round shape, as well as the fixed furniture elements in the interior – wardrobes and benches, and table tops. The material of the railing continues the idea of natural, somewhat rough materials by using naturally coloured ropes. If necessary, in minimal cases, perforated white plasterboard is also used. The skylight and the high windows of the classrooms and adjoining rooms let the maximum amount of natural light into the heart of the project. Of course, natural materials and colours are also provided in the classrooms and main learning areas. The ancillary rooms could possibly be combined one-to-one into a double-space room or opened up towards the interior in order to merge the boundary between outside and inside and allow the view of the green areas to penetrate to the heart of the new school.