Blaue Schule


Die Blaue Schule is made of a rectilinear North-South barn wrapped by blue wood boards sitting on top of a one-storey-high complex built around two sunken courtyards. The barn provides two entrances to the school complex from two streets. The first entrance from Romanshornerstrasse is the more official one, mostly for student arriving by car or bus. The second entrance from Seestrasse is more intimate, mostly for pedestrians and bikers, being somewhat hidden by the tall trees that the projects keeps and turn into an imposing presence for both the school complex and the neighborhood. The vast majority of the schooling activities takes place at the + 4 level, which is to say halfway between the Romanshornerstrasse (+ 8.00) and the Seestrasse (+ 0.00). The school is therefore nested inside a natural system made of wood huts, small glass pavilions, green roofs, natural vegetation of different kind and trees that shields it and hides it from the noisy thoroughfare from which is out of sight.


The architectural concept stems from two archetypes of school making: the courtyard and the gallery, even though their relationship with the ground is somewhat unusual, being dictated by the site conditions. The social and collective life of the school takes place at the courtyards level (+ 4.00). It is at this level (inside the blue barn) that the main 'heart of the school' is found in conjunction with a moveable stage in front of a staircase mixed with a series of steps that establish  a 'casual auditorium' for public performances of the pupils. Circulation for the + 8.00 level overlooks the school heart, providing room for other viewpoints and other performances in two ‘wood hut’ hanging over the double height space. The two courtyards are also at this level: the lower and middle grade classrooms are disposed around them. The south one is a green lawn for ‘outdoor learning time,’ the north one is a tartan covered playground for ‘fun time.’ A number of plying objects are set in it: a couple of wood ‘tree hut’ for the kids overlook over it. The playground courtyard is open to the landscape to the west and merges with the a system of stairs where parallel slides are located for further (competitive) fun.


The project can only be appreciated by valuing its sectional qualities, which are are hidden but present.


The structure is a mix of traditional reinforced concrete frame of post, beams, slabs technology (for the main body of the complex) and timber technology for the blue barn. Both technologies are conceived to reduced cantilever to a minimum by setting a close pace among posts in order to contain structural size and dimension. For the earth digging job prefabricated double layer panel with interior steel armature have been considered to save resources and speed the process.

LocationArbon, Switzerland
Use: Education
Client:City of Arbon
Status:competition entry
Design Team:

conrad-bercah, valerio paolo mosco, Petar Stelkic, Alberto Clerici, Pietro Bologna, Celina Labanca (architectural) Giancarlo Daleffe (structural) Flavio Ranica (mechanical) Andrea Angeli (graphic) Stefano Bacciocchi (render) Fram Lab (model)