A large wooden extension was created to substitute a demolished 1990s building and to connect three remaining school buildings from the 1960s. Tasked to develop a shared visual identity for the building complex, the architects decided to replace existing concrete façades with more energy-efficient wooden ones, which were then clad in zinc tiles.
Overhangs running along the façades offer protection to the untreated larch cladding and make it possible for students and teachers to move safely between buildings, even in wet weather conditions. The ‘new’ school boasts a green sedum roof as its ‘fifth façade’ responding to the fact that the school sits among several five-storey blocks that overlook the buildings. Its wave shape follows the local topography of the sloping plot.
The need for a short and efficient construction time in order to keep the school running whilst work was being carried out, was one of the key drivers for choosing timber. The use of prefabricated panels helped reduce construction time and impact on teachers, students and the neighbourhood.
Use of timber
The new structure is made of glulam allowing for large spans in the building. Throughout the new section, the roof beams are exposed creating a soft feel to the space. The prefabricated wood cladding gives the scheme a visual lightness that is replicated by its sinuous roof shape and ensures protection from rain or damp.
Wood was also used in designing the interior of the buildings. The architects chose wood for its warm and comforting feel, to reflect the school’s ecological profile and make it part of its students’ everyday life and learning.