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Widnau School

Standing as a strong, angular solitaire at the edge of its site, the new school does not encroach upon the established network of pedestrian routes. Aligned with the southeast site boundary, the new building creates a new public space around it. The new building is divided into two main areas: a two-storey building housing all classrooms and, underneath, a recessed pedestal which creates both a sense of levity for the upper storeys and a covered walkway around the entire building.  Every occupied room is orientated towards the outside but a central concourse within, conceived as a three-dimensional spatial sculpture, is one of the building’s most distinctive features.  Interesting spatial sequences with exciting glimpses upwards and outwards characterise the new schoolhouse.  The radial organisation of the teaching spaces is derived from the image of a windmill. Classrooms, along with their cloakrooms and group work rooms, are treated as single functional units aligned along the facades. The corners house specialised classrooms which don’t require their own cloakrooms. Common areas with views of the near and distant surroundings are organised diagonally across each floor. Ninety-degree rotation of the storeys creates a spatial game between the common areas and their orientation, giving views in each of the cardinal directions.  A central atrium, with voids offset in accordance with the rotating plans, unifies the entire interior into a three-dimensional whole.

Design Team: Andreas Cukrowicz, Anton Nachbaur-Sturm, Johanna Brunner
Client: Community Widnau CH
Competition 2012 3rd Prize