Text description provided by the architects. The school is located in a residential neighbourhood in the Swiss village of Port. With its characteristic folded roof structure, the school references the pitched roofs of the surrounding houses, the rural history of the region and the smooth hills of the Jura Mountains. Placed on a gentle slope, the building takes advantage of the topography and links various outdoor spaces according to the different access routes of the school children. While the ground floor is used for faculty administration, workshops, a school kitchen and back of the house rooms, the first floor comprises of nine class rooms and three kindergarten units. The upper rooms naturally benefit from the spatial qualities of the folded roof. Each classroom appears to be an independent little house, creating a cozy and homelike atmosphere for the children.
Adjacent classrooms are linked with each other through large doors as well as having direct access to group working spaces and a generous multifunctional middle zone. This layout allows maximal flexibility for current and future teaching and learning methodologies. Large parts of the interior walls are developed as floor to ceiling magnetic blackboards, inviting the pupils to express themselves. A series of skylights provide daylight to the internal areas while the rooms along the facades receive natural light from two directions due to their angular position.
The school’s principal structure is a prefabricated timber construction. Wood as the only construction material that stores carbon is also used for the facade and the interior – all the way down to the furniture. Therefore, the school building can be seen as a large carbon storage. All timber used comes from sustainable forestry. The other construction materials are non-toxic, disposable products with low environmental impact.
The school is an energy-plus building with the rating MINERGIE-A®. As per the Swiss Confederation code, such a classification requires a high-grade, air-tight building envelope and the continuous renewal of air in the building by using an energy-efficient ventilation system. Operable windows for natural cross ventilation, night cooling and greater comfort are integrated as well. Not only is the school connected to the district heating, it also serves as a communal power station: more than 1100 solar panels on the roof generate about 300 kWp which is enough electricity to cover the energy consumption of the school itself as well as an additional 50 households.