With the intention of restructuring the school complex in the city of Sion, the starting point for OVERCODE was to conceive a compact building deploying a strategy of economy of means and space. Consisting of a school extension, new nursery and new gymnasium, their urban strategy spins around the idea of closing and opening the site at the same time. More images and architects’ description after the break.
We propose a building that acts as a permeable border. It separates and unites the school’s court-yard with the different activities around (new multi-event space, street, existing school and court-yard). The new school extension therefore closes the existing block (ilot des Collines) and opens up at the court-yard level in order to reveal it as a new fundamental element of the neighborhood.
The new building takes advantage of the existing different levels by floating its mass in order to create the preau (covered court-yard) in continuity with the school’s existing court-yard. This new open and generous space accentuates the character of the place by gathering a spatial continuity of the public surface at the urban scale thus becoming a dynamic urban element.
We propose to create an urban element with its own identity contributing to the heterogeneity of the school complex by stacking all the programs into one envelope, thus achieving compactness. On this way the new activities are placed following the logic of accessibility and continuity: the baby nursery is placed on the ground floor with its own private court-yard, the preau follows the level of the existing court-yard level, the kids nursery is placed on the first floor with a direct access from the street level, the gym for gymnastic practice is placed on the second level in order to offer a degree of intimacy and views over the mountains, and finally the extra classrooms on the last level of the building.
We deploy a clear and efficient public space strategy promoting slow speed movement:
-Unity: the same floor covering was used in order to connect and unite the school complex exterior spaces.
-Re-use: clustering hang-out spaces around existing tree structures.
-Continuity: stairs and ramps guarantee smooth transitions from the different levels.
Moreover, by positioning the building at the south end of the site we created clear exterior places with different qualities: the Matze square at the front of the site, the nursery’s court-yard, the cover school’s court-yard (preau), the school’s court-yard, and the new north-west square next to the old school building (city monument).The demolition of the existing gym provided the opportunity to enhance the monumentality of the old school building, and create a new connection with the north of the neighborhood. So, in order to articulate this passage we place the new guardian dwelling at the very corner of this new square.
Architects: OVERCODE architecture urbanisme
Location: Sion, Switzerland
Architects in Charge: Alejandro Garcia Marta, Claire Garcia Barriet
Program: School extension, new nursery, and a new gym for gymnastic practice
Status: Competition Entry