Von Fischer, Sabine
May 2007
werk, bauen + wohnen;May2007, Issue 5, p20
Trade Publication
Baumgarten School in Buochs by pool Architekten At the centre of the village of Buochs, between Lake Lucerne and the mountains, seven school buildings dating from 1904 to 1990 form a small disparate group, each with its own forecourt or recess yard. This led the architects to place their project for a further school building as close as possible to the other buildings so that a central recess yard is created between them. The rectangle of the plan -- that will be extended eastwards in the second phase -- contains inside a multi-faceted world: while the ground and basement floors are developed in a concrete structure along a longitudinal circulation system, the upper floor containing the schoolrooms and group rooms is made entirely of timber and the floor plan organisation of the upper versus the lower levels creates two essentially different systems that are connected by the means of the materials used: above all by simple, white-painted wooden panelling. On the one hand this panelling quotes the language of the materials used in the rural surroundings, but it does not merely imitate. In the concrete structure of the ground and basement level the wall panelling is mounted flush with the concrete columns. They were poured in a shuttering made of rough-sawn timber so that, in the context of the smoothness ubiquitous nowadays, their surface seems almost intractable. It was only thanks to the interest and the skill of the building contractor that it was possible, within the given budget, to try out once again a technique that has almost vanished from the repertoire of building skills. The juxtaposing of concrete poured in a rough-sawn shuttering, areas of glowing limegreen glass mosaic, rusty brown vitrified clay tiles, doors and parapets to the staircase with the striking and finely structured grain of Canadian grey elm, and the rhythmically positioned concrete piers is neither a recipe nor a logical consequence. This is a composition developed in and out of experience. Above, in the timber building, the wooden panelling covers the schoolrooms like the sheets of material in a tent roof, beneath the complex geometry of a roofscape angled in two directions. The layout on the upper floor -- that is organised as a compact system of schoolrooms and group rooms -- is made possible by the light entering through the skewed and stepped roofscape. All spaces in the central zone receive indirect sunlight through the schoolrooms and direct north light through the stepped roof. Despite the standard size of 70 square metres, with their full-height windows and bands of glazing along the inclined ceilings the schoolrooms seem generous, because up high, where thoughts can freely roam, there is plenty of light and air.


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