‘En Plein Air’ Renovation of Turin’s Enrico Fermi School

‘En Plein Air’ Renovation of Turin’s Enrico Fermi School

Embracing the concept of experimental en plein air schools, the renovation of this Turin school strengthens connections to the neighbourhood and proposes a series of new exterior terrace spaces.
6 Oct 2019 News

The result of a competition launched in 2016, the transformation of the Enrico Fermi School in Turin by BDR bureau architects opens the existing school up to its urban context and functionally rearranges the existing program. New steel frame terraces create additional outdoor program space for the school and further enhance interior to exterior connections.

Here is a look at how the school was rethought.

Rethinking the Exterior:

The existing school building was constructed in the 1960’s in the eastern area of Turin. Extended and functionally rethought, the back of the existing building is transformed into a new main entrance, opening up to the surrounding neighbourhood and emphasizing the concept of a community school. The ground floor of the school becomes an extension of this public space, integrating a series of services open to everyone, such as the gym, library, auditorium and cafeteria.

Credit: Simone Bossi

Adding interest and functional use to the exterior envelope, a new frame of steel structures with terraces was added to the façade. The modularity of this new frame, finished with a metal mesh, creates additional program space for the school and highlights indoor to outdoor connections. The frame’s composition is echoed in the existing building, where the façade is treated with a multigrain plaster that creates depth variations. The façade of the new entry and those that face towards the courtyard feature large windows that enhance the various volumes and outdoor spaces.

Courtesy: BDR bureau

Rethinking the Interior:

The ground floor space is designed as a civic centre, where different functions are gathered in the atrium, directly connected with the garden and two entrances. The atrium stretches to the upper floors thanks to a vertical element, being a stairwell that evokes the external architectural language. The flexible library and auditorium space, cafeteria and gym are the other elements on the ground floor.

Credit: Simone Bossi

On the upper two floors, the atrium accommodates recreational and collective spaces, while educational activities are organized in spatial unit clusters containing classrooms, cloakrooms, services and informal learning spaces. The classrooms become a meeting point and linkage between inside and outside, retaining a visual connection to the common space and giving access to the new steel frame terraces.

Just like in the experimental en plein air schools, the educational and recreational activities take place outdoors.

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