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Skop, Schule Port, Simon von Gunten

A Village Under One Roof: Schoolhouse in Port

The new school stands in the middle of a residential district in Port, which is located near the city of Biel. The architects from Skop have created a building whose cubature refers to the character of the town. The roof, which is folded in several places, echoes the foothills of the Jura mountains. The school is embedded in a slope that falls to the north, which creates a plateau that acts as access to the upper storey. The children arrive from the east and west; these directions continue with the corridor, which functions as a connecting axis that funs through the entire structure.

The ground floor is home to organizations spaces such as teachers’ areas and the school kitchen, while the 9 classrooms and 3 kindergarten areas benefit from the special spatial atmosphere created by the folded roof on the upper level. Each classroom seems to form a separate house unit. Diagonal, units offset to each other enable the greatest possible functionality of the interior spaces.

The many connections create an open structure that offers flexibility for various types of learning and promotes synergy. While the classrooms and kindergarten spaces are arranged along the façades, the inside spaces are lit by 7 large skylights set into cutouts in the roof.

Throughout the entire planning process, the architects lay great value on sustainability. A wood construction made primarily of prefabricated elements, optimized building technology featuring heat recovery, and the dense, well-insulated building shell minimize grey energy.

The folded roof construction has several functions: wooden casing elements bear the load of the roof - which has a span measuring up to 13 m - and also work to enhance acoustics and ventilation. Rear-ventilated, pressure-treated formwork of silver fir creates a unified façade appearance. The 1,100 photovoltaic panels on the roof mean that the building can supply not only itself, but around 50 households as well, with electricity. The school gets its heat from the waste incineration plant in Biel.
Further information:

Team: Basil Spiess, Silvia Weibel Hendriksen, Martin Zimmerli, David Brunner, Angelika Marxer
Construction management: Spörri Graf Partner / APP, Bern, Schweiz
Landscape architecture: Grand Paysage, Basel, Schweiz
Wood construction engineer: Indermühle Bauingenieure, Thun, Schweiz
Engineer: Tschopp Ingenieure, Bern, Schweiz
Building technology: tp, Biel, Schweiz
Electro planning: A. Schlosser, Biel, Schweiz
Building physics: Pirmin Jung Ingenieure, Rain, Schweiz
Signage: superbüro, Biel, Schweiz
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