Bovernier Primary School Extension / Bonnard Woeffray Architectes

© Hannes Henz

Architects: Bonnard Woeffray Architectes
Location: Bovernier, Switzerland
Collaborator: Nuno Ferreira
Client: Commune de Bovernier
Project Area: 1,630 sqm
Project Year: 2008-2010
Photographs: Hannes Henz

Like an immense suit of protective armour, the extension to Bovernier School forms a natural shield against avalanches. The building is located at the foot of an incline. The habitable wall is articulated in both length and height to adhere closely to the topography of the site and create space for the play and games areas. Complementing the existing classrooms building, the enlargement houses a range of functions required by both school and community: physical education, creative activities, kindergarten, plus singing and gym clubs. Rather like a train, these functions follow a logical sequence relative to the village and the functioning of the school: first comes the day nursery, followed by the primary school in the centre and the gym at the end. The spaces are juxtaposed, linkable and separable for maximum flexibility and optimum economical rationality. The enlargement ‘plugs’ into the existing school via a covered walkway flown above the playground.

plan 01
© Hannes Henz

Avalanches are blocked by the major spaces that emerge from the incline. They are diverted by the service spaces that bury themselves and slant laterally.

© Hannes Henz

To bear the weight and thrust of the snow, the enlargement is reinforced by a series of blades that serve to strengthen it across its width. As a construction it resembles a work of art. Its structure is . Providing a contrast with the visible , the ceilings and plywood walls serving an acoustic function imbue the spaces with a certain domesticity. The colour scheme, here pastel, there vivid, bathes the north- facing spaces in a range of hues.

© Bonnard Woeffray Architectes
© Hannes Henz

The sole emergent facade is clad in a metallic skin pierced with mirrored, flush glazing that does not impinge on the continuity. The other facades are greened with vegetation. The lustre of the raw reflects the light of the hillside opposite, giving the site a new dimension.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Bovernier Primary School Extension / Bonnard Woeffray Architectes" 09 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • æon

    I got the impression it tries to follow the form of the hill.

  • JuiceMajor

    If all the school in UK look like this!