Text description provided by the architects. In the 1970s, the city of Linz built the experientially orientated primary school 49 in the district of Urfahr. Later to be named Robinson School, it is a model aiming to offer city kids as much nature experience and space for movement as possible. In 2008 the city's construction management corporation (Immobilien Linz GmbH & Co KEG) commissioned Schneider & Lengauer architects with the renovation and reconstruction of the school building as well as with the new construction of a day care centre. The basis for the detailed design work was a study by the Department of Building Management of the City of Linz. The following report proved, on the one hand, an enormously increased demand for afternoon care of primary school children, and determined the number of crèche groups. On the other hand, it defined the construction area and consequently the shape of the new building.
Thermal rehabilitation and reconstruction of "Robinson School"
The school building extends along Kaltenhauserstraße. The gym connects at its eastern end and the new day care centre at the west, each at right angles. By creating a delimited space for games, sports and adventure, both school and after-school children are provided with plenty of room to develop their movement and creative energies.
A paved courtyard leads to the primary school and day care centre, which are entered through a glass vestibule. Thanks to full-height glazing and the demolition of a load-bearing wall, the entrance area, including cloakrooms, presents itself as a bright and cheerful living zone. The redevelopment of the staircase, the corridors, the teachers' staffroom and head teacher's office as well as the installation of modern sanitary facilities complements the renovation of the school building. The composite-stone surface in the foyer sets an earthy contrast to the wall surfaces and furniture fixtures in light champagne tone. The pleasantly restrained colour scheme of the entire school building is designed to promote the concentration of the children and counter the sometimes very hectic school life with a quiet working and learning environment. Now, after the renovation, the gym also meets the requirements of contemporary school sports. The window openings are now above the wall bars, the heating is done by means of radiant panels incorporated into the acoustic ceiling. New exercise equipment and wall panels as well as new ground markings complete the executed measures.
After the thermal rehabilitation of the school and gymnasium buildings, both meet the standards of a low-energy building. The overall exterior appearance of the full thermal protection facade is dominated by the ribbon windows, which are structured by the change of fully glazed and tilt-elements. With fine-grained, sand-coloured stucco, the colour and material concept of the facade continues the prevailing warm and bright tones that dominate the building's interior. The portal structures and facade panels gently stand out in bronze aluminium.
Construction of a day care centre: wood and concrete interplay
The newly constructed building has room for five crèche groups and ensures the care of children outside school hours. The basement with building equipment and storage rooms, the foyer area with sanitary facilities as well as the elevator system and staircase are built in reinforced concrete, while the corridors and group rooms present themselves in constructive timber. The building envelope is a 30 cm thick cellulose-insulated timber frame construction, clad in a ventilated Alucobond facade, shimmering in soft bronze tones. The building's partition walls are made of glulam elements.
Fir wood is the dominant optical element inside the cuboid construction and elements of the timber structure are largely visible. Above the pupils' heads floats a solid wood beam ceiling with a beam height of 46 cm and a beam width of 18 cm. Ceiling and wood walls are gently glazed with white oil, which provides the group rooms with a light, bright atmosphere without covering the wood grain. The green and brown tones of the terrazzo stone floor in the foyer and staircase softly contrast the light-coloured wood. Linoleum floor in matching colour is used in the corridors and classrooms.
The group rooms are opened to the outside world with large-scale glazing and terraces in front. Inside, floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors provide for the separation of learning and play area as needed. The walls, which separate the group rooms from the corridor, are made from wood colour glazed concrete. It provides the storage mass that enables the day care centre construction to reaches its low-energy standard.
Outdoor area with child-friendly "art-in-architecture"
The newly structured outdoor area also now has a hard court for ball games, which is immediately adjacent to the gymnasium. In parallel, a rose hill ensures additional delineation, and facilitates the execution of school events with fixed grandstands. Attached to the hard court and rose hill is "Luftigschule" ('airy school'), designed by Tobias Hagleitner and Gunar Wilhelm, as an accessible art-in-architecture object. It invites children to experience space with all their senses, to feel and smell the material wood and to playfully appropriate the numerous niches, corners, cavities and bridges of "Luftigschule".