School building, Uitikon

School building and sportshall competition, 2019
in collaboration with NL Architects and Inside Outside/ Petra Blaisse

The hill promises to become a wonderful neighborhood center combining all sorts of community amenities and sports facilities. The village square combined with the village green.
Sports serves as a catalyst of physical and mental wellbeing and of social cohesion and exchange.
The location of the sports park in it self seems to underline this importance: isn’t the elevated position somewhat reminiscent of ancient temples?

The sports hall is carefully positioned on the campus. The latent beauty of the orthogonal arrangement of the existing buildings is strengthened by the new additions. The north façade of the new structure is aligned with the south facade of the swimming pool and the eastern outline extends from the western building line of the former gymnasium. As such a crisp array of pavilions comes into being offering a nice sequence of well defined open spaces.
The sports hall manifests itself as a modest and relatively simple structure. The minimum amount of columns supports a concrete ‘hat’ that holds the roof.
A continuous glass ribbon all around the building minimizes obstruction, it ‘dematerializes’ the pavilion on eyelevel allowing cross relationships over the campus. The hall is see-through; it doesn’t have a back side and as such increases oversight. All ‘ingredients’ of the park remain visible.
At the same time the glass façade offers wonderful views into the hall from ground level. A colonnade-without-columns wraps around the building creating a covered area offering shelter and shade. The canopy blocks the direct sun to optimize  

The main hall is slightly sunken into the ground. Not lowering it too much assures a pleasant relationship with the world outside (and vice versa). A deeper pit would not only be less pleasant but also be less pragmatic: the distance between inside and out would become too long.

The strategy for the existing gym hall is to strip it to its original state and build the required rooms as freestanding objects inside the remaining shell. In principle this would mean insufficient insulation. But by considering the space in-between original hall and new functions as a buffer zone, a kind of half climate will come into being that can accommodate multiple forms of use. The idea is to retract the thermal skin into a much smaller object and using the envelope in various informal ways.

(Text by Kamiel Klaasse)

structural engineer: Dr. Neven Kostic GmbH, Zürich
energy concept: Amstein + Walthert AG, Zürich