Swiss architecture firm kit has developed an innovative proposal for the primary school and kindergarten in Rafz Switzerland. The award winning project “Learn-scape” is an open learning environment conceived as a porous space structure which enables strong connections between classrooms, circulation and game spaces, exercise rooms, gymnasiums and outdoor areas. The project can be viewed as a prototype for the new pedagogical forms proposed by Swiss school authorities, which aim at blurring the boundaries between classes of various levels.
The existing compound of the School is clearly structured by a series of Volumes that are organized in three program strands. One for sports, one for the school functions and a third that acts as a connecting and mixing zone. This organizing principal is extended and internalized to shape a simple but programmatically loaded volume. The centerpiece is a multifunctional zone, which serves as a space of encounter and orientation allowing for interesting relationships between several floors and uses. Views into classrooms, gyms or courtyard spaces create a connecting atmosphere with curtains controlling insights. Multiple areas with distinct spatial qualities define this zone, which can be reconfigured and used as an extended learning and play area or in combination with the gyms for larger sports and community events.
Herein a strategy of extreme compactness is pursued. Surfaces are minimized, flows and processes are optimized and synergies between different users are maximized. Therefore the new building not only fulfills ecological and economic needs, but also propagates a denser, more sustainable urban growth in the beautiful landscape of the Swiss midlands, where the past decades have been dominated by sprawl.