Architects: e2a – Wim Eckert, Piet Eckert
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Project Team: Hans-Peter Kistler, Sebastian Holzhausen
Construction Management: Oppliger von Gunten, Zürich
Structure: Walt + Galmarini, Zürich
HVAC: Rechberger Huustechnik, Zürich
Electric engineering: Thomas Lüem Partner AG, Zürich
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Radek Brunecky, Dominique Marc Wehrli
The park-like site is dominated by a bulky, authoritative old school building from the early twentieth century that has had many extensions added. The most recent extension concentrates on a precisely set single building, which enhances the different areas of the park, without affecting its space continuum. The new building is four floors in height and provides, at an appropriate distance, a new, confident opponent towards the 19th Century main building.
Physiotherapy rooms and the entrance area form the one storey porch. Behind, two classrooms, with in between set preparation and related adjoining rooms, repeats on four floors. Entrance, corridors and stairways are designed as open spaces and are kept rough – which contrasts with the precise and simple design and the realization of furniture and finishings.
The classrooms, however, are all built with robust and high-quality materials, for example: wall plasterwork with magnetite and lime, the floors in oiled oak industry parquet and curtains made from felt blankets.
The new building is clothed in raw aluminum which is folded around the building; only the main facades remain free. The metal is perforated and appears as a woven curtain. Like a chameleon it assimilates to its environment – disappears suddenly so as to reappear in the same place. Through the fine and precise workmanship the raw aluminium loses its renown as an ephemeral and ordinary material used only for temporary buildings.
The new building, perceived as a densification of the existing context, led to a focused use of available resources and a respectful approach of the urban green spaces, which have recently become rare. It is the result of concentrating all former provisional spaces of the center for hearing and language under one new, common roof.