Birchlen school complex, Dübendorf

Schulanlage Birchlen, Dübendorf, Pausenhof

By continuing the existing development pattern, the new building for Birchlen school complex in Dübendorf strengthens the qualities of the outdoor space. It is positioned in such a way that it generates a sequence of protected schoolyards. This competition entry was awarded first prize.

Dübendorf, which has an urban quality, is close to the city of Zurich. Birchlen school complex, one of several municipal schools, was built by Schoch & Heusser Architekten in 1959/60 and consists of four long volumes that are staggered in relation to each other. To accommodate the growing number of pupils the internal capacity of this school complex needed be increased. In addition, the spaces available no longer met the needs of a modern school.

The new building’s flexible internal spatial structure allows a wide variety of use in the teaching spaces. The main staircase functions as a joint between the old and the new building. Pavilion-like extensions on the east side expand the building and allow the creation of group rooms.

The materiality of the existing buildings from the 1950s and 1960s is developed further. The essentially uniform renovation of the existing building envelopes gives the complex a homogeneous appearance, while in the new buildings subtle haptic nuances of expression differentiate them slightly from the existing buildings.

Kirchbachstrasse 3, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
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Task Extension and renovation of a school complex
Job type Competition after prequalification
Mention 1st prize
Deliverables Project (due to the tight financial situation the project was suspended)
Time period 2015–2019
Challenge Continuation and development of the existing architectural qualities, making the existing situation more precise
Stefan Wülser