Text description provided by the architects. The original building of the elementary school was completed in 1934 according to the design of the architects V. Vondrášek and J.Kubín. Over the course of its existence, it has gone through several modifications of various technical and architectural quality.
During the last few years several architectural studies have been carried out to address the lack of capacity for new pupils, as well as functional collisions and poor technical condition of some parts of the building. All proposals worked with a volume addition towards the school garden. After a thorough analysis we have decided to use a different approach.
We think it is only right for the project to address the problematic spots that were created by the previous insensitive interventions and new functional demands. Therefore we do not follow up the poorly designed parts of the building, we do not add any other appendix, but we work in dialogue with the historical building. Our design, unostentatious extension in the exterior, creates modern, interesting interiors full of light.
We propose a new extension above the existing gym. Large span steel frames form double height attic spaces for art, chemistry and physics classrooms and after school activities. Specialized classrooms are generously stretched to the seven and half meters high rooftop. Pleasant study environment is supported by daylight coming from two directions and acoustic paneling made of wood-fiber boards. Into the space of lesser quality on the ground floor of the historical building we place main locker room for 300 pupils. Dominant feature of the locker room is a one ton weighing oak tree trunk which serves as a bench.
The largest 75m2 classroom of the school club is located on the ground floor and is connected to the paved area of the inner atrium with an amphitheatre. This courtyard serves as a multi functional space for various school and after school activities (seminars, workshops, meetings etc.). All classrooms were accessorized with original graphics on the motifs of czech popular theatre plays about a multi talented character Jara Cimrman after whom the school was named. Enclosed atrium with a solitary tree in the middle freely paraphrases the archetype of a monastery courtyard. It‘ s atmosphere is complemented by the use of natural materials – cobblestone paving (the traditional so called Prague mosaic) and massive oak beams used on edges of steps. With projecting device installed, the atrium is used as a summer cinema as well.
Independent operation of the after school club is provided by a newly added volume of staircase and utilities. Stainless steel cobweb stretched in between the flights of a staircase across all floors serves as a railing and also as a gallery of the pupils‘ art works. New school extension is connected to the existing circulation system as well as to the newly designed barrier free entrance in the northern part, which allows the school and the after school club to be run separately. The connecting bridge between the old and the new part of the school is covered with a semi-transparent fog like white perforated steel facade.
Thanks to the chosen concept of building above an existing floor plan we minimize interventions in the school garden which allows us to create new entrance area of adequate dimensions. Materials used in the entrance are granite, concrete and wooden elements combined with plants. School garden is protected by a fence made of zinc steel. Carefully designed spacing between the fence lamellas gives passing by pedestrians variously changing views of the school building and garden.