School districts around the world face the battle of pairing the existing budget with the need to increase usable space for student and teacher use. When the topic inevitably came up for an elementary and middle school in Orpund, Switzerland, the team at MMXVI Architecture was pulled into the discussion. The result is a unique solution that serves a multitude of purposes for the campus and beyond.

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Known as the New Day School, the building was previously a residential building near the fringe of the school grounds. With the decision to use the aging building, the architects turned their focus on function. The planning team saw the opportunity to not only meet overflow needs of the school but to create a space that was flexible for the public, too.

Related: Cranbrook School teaches environmental stewardship 

driveway leading to glass building
school room with wood walls and ceilings

The day school doesn’t require classrooms, so the space is open and flowing as a place where students can eat or meet for clubs or other extracurricular activities. The public can also access the spaces for gatherings, meetings and events.

small wood table and playmat in room with wood and glass walls
enclosed wood structure in larger room with glass walls

The original foundation from the 1950s wood home was kept to minimize costs, construction time and site impact. As the design took shape, the team said, “It became clear that this concrete structure would be ideal for accommodating ancillary rooms such as the kitchen, sanitary facilities, services, and storage.” 

large, double-height room with glass walls and large staircase
schoolroom play area with magnets

With these secondary spaces accounted for, the main rooms in the building were opened up with a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors. The entire building has direct access to the gardens. A large, curved roof brings a soft connection between the levels and provides passive design elements for cooling and ventilation. Automated louvre windows provide additional cooling at night and bring natural light into the space. Along with a passive earth-air heat exchanger, there is no need for air conditioning, which results in low energy usage.

+ MMXVI Architecture

Via ArchDaily

Photography by Oliver Dubuis via MMXVI Architecture