Dübendorf-Schwerzenbach secondary school

Sekundarschule Dübendorf, Fischer Architekten AG Zürich

The forecast growth in the number of school-age children meant that Dübendorf-Schwerzenbach secondary school, in urban design terms a witness to the rapid spatial and urban development during the 1970s and 1980s, needed to be extended. The aim of this competition entry, which was awarded second place, is to achieve an economically sustainable solution in the form of a high standard building, to reduce life cycle costs and the impact on the environment to a minimum, while achieving high quality for the users.

In structural terms the Grüze school consists of two orthogonal organisational systems that differ in scale. Small, pavilion-like point buildings form a kind of cluster structure surrounded by walkways. Building volumes alternate with spatial volumes in a chequerboard pattern, giving this structure an inherent logic and a rhythm of full and empty. The two long buildings that edge the large open sports fields form a contrast.

By deliberately keeping the edges of the complex free of building the new, centrally positioned schoolhouse mediates between the two organisational systems: it forms a kind of hinge. Here the principle of a chequerboard of spatial and building volumes is continued at a larger scale. This creates two outdoor spaces that are spatially and geometrically related to the sports field and that allow arrival spaces for the residential district to be developed.

The proposed building houses the double gymnasium and the requisite schoolrooms in a compact volume. From the two-storey entrance area your gaze wanders into the cascading, two-storey circulation space. The school can be grasped in a second. At the end of the cascade there is a lounge from where there is view across the entire school site. The staircase that rises through the two-storey middle zone introduces a certain playful quality to the way one moves through and perceives the space.

These interflowing spaces are also places for encounters and recreation that facilitate social contacts. Loggias, understood as extended lounge areas, terminate the building on the north and south sides. These outdoor zones are an element in the facade planting, while at the same time forming part of the park.

Neuhausstrasse 23, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
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Task New building schoolhouse Grüze 5 and gymnasium
Job type Competition by invitation
Mention 2nd prize
Time period 2019
Challenge Innovative, flexible pedagogical concept, Minergie-P-ECO (certification optional)