Architects: Tomas Ghisellini Architects
Location: Cenate Sotto (Bergamo), Italy
Structures: Beatrice Bergamini
Interior Design: Tomas Ghisellini
Collaborators: Cristina Haumann, Michele Marchi, Alice Marzola
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Tomas Ghisellini
Careful to address the delicate relations of cohabitation especially with the near cemetery, the architecture of the school chooses the path of simplicity, rejecting any unnecessary formal presentation, and set up in a relationship of dependence and exchange rather than assertion. The building, which is generated by the composition of elementary volumes made of exposed brick and white plaster, shows massive fronts to the streets; architectural language, deliberately discreet and essential, builds the old suggestion of a “defensive” construction for which a compact and seemingly impenetrable basement is in charge of contact with the urban land.
With a substantial inversion operation, the project builds on the court of the trees transparent surfaces and glass walls that give all the main spaces of the school (classrooms, halls, common areas, dining hall and gym) the straight view of the garden and hills beyond. Getting into the hall, visitors have immediate perception of the overall shape of the building: from the large double-height lobby, the main common area, the courtyard of the trees, the first set of classrooms, the core of the offices, administration and teaching, the mineral patio (an outdoor patio, shaded and paved), the supervision body and the vertical distributions and further, beyond the window overlooking the garden, the volumes of the dining hall and gym.
Classrooms visually communicate with the court through large windows protected by a diaphragm. Refectory and gymnasium, in kind of “hidden” positions to minimize the acoustic load connected to their functions, can be reached from a second clear path.
The refectory is designed as a hybrid and multifunctional space freely equippable for joint activities. A large warehouse, specially crafted, can accommodate the ergonomic furniture of the room (completely open to the court) enabling diversified interiors. Distributions on the first floor, facing on cantilevered entrance hall, illuminated by a long horizontal cut in the flat roof, allow to reach the second classrooms block and the special rooms for labs. The latter, positioned within a volume along plastered leaning on the brick base housing on the ground floor the administrative and management activities, provide pupils with interesting atmospheric spaces for which a spectacular three-dimensional ceiling catches light and air from the sky. These environments, enclosed within compact walls carved only by a long horizontal opening that gives students a view of the south-horizon, is flooded with natural light: the cuts of the shed, north-facing, ensuring a level playing field of workspaces lighting avoiding direct sunlight. A large outdoor terrace, located above the dining room and accessible from the spaces on the first floor, offers children an attractive outdoor room for educational activities, recreational and playful, while overlooking the courtyard facing the hills, the terrace-lookout offers a wide dry artificial soil usable even in winter.