The village of Lugrin lies on the south shore of Lake Geneva, on the French side, facing Lausanne. The school buildings have already been expanded and renovated three times in order to accommodate population growth. Now the primary school, which stands between a girls’ school from 1850 and a boys’ classroom building that dates to the 1950s, has had new spaces added to it.
In Lugrin, Alpine foothills create a steep downward slope towards the lake. The school ensemble is nestled into the terraced area above the town hall and church. A base level of exposed concrete hugs the slope; retaining walls encompassing the new schoolyard develop from this plinth. The yard is surrounded on three sides by an arcade that creates a connection between the entrance to the new structure and the existing buildings. For the Parisian architects from Ateliers O-S, this is more than a simple passageway: it also promotes interaction.
The volume that sits atop the plinth was inspired by the archetype of the barn. This long, saddle-roofed block stands perpendicular to the slope and directly faces the church. Its cladding of Corten steel fits into the local roofscape of red brick. The long, open space is home to the school cafeteria, which features a kitchen and dining room, while the lower level is connected to the yard and features three primary-school classrooms and a workshop for art lessons.
The façade of Corten steel conceals wood-framing walls which serve as a supporting structure. The rafters and ceiling joists are of solid wood; they stand out from the white panelling. These joists continue the spacious barn motif inside as well. The base is supported by a visible concrete structure shuttered with pinewood panels.