"Mirador" School Building Mitte
Architects: Sara Gelibter Architecte, Balmer Architektur
Client: Gemeinde Brig-Glis
Status: Competition (2024)
Clasification: 1 prize
Location: Brig-Glis, Switzerland
Climate: Humid subtropical, Temperate
Materials: Concrete, Glass
Environment: Park
Visualizer: Onirism
Budget: 40.000.000 €
Scale: 7.685 ㎡ Medium
Ratio: 5.204,94 €/㎡
Types: Education, School

The establishment of a central new school building at the «Mitte» location presents an urban planning opportunity. Situated amidst various building structures from different eras, the new, compact school building enhances and consolidates the diverse spaces. This fosters vibrant neighborhoods, creates appealing addresses, and establishes new communal areas for both the school and the neighborhood. Positioned facing the neighborhood on the eastern edge of the school site, the new school building volume utilizes the topographical slope to seamlessly integrate the lower-lying sports hall into the overall structure, maximizing natural light. This results in an efficient and compact, four to five-story building volume, with multiple points of connection to the neighborhood through forecourts on different levels.

To the north of the site, the removal of the temporary kindergarten building creates a clear urban gesture by extending the Gliser-Allee as a visible axis into the school site, leading to the northern school entrance and forming a plaza-like setting. Here, the building presents itself with a five-story façade, welcoming students with a spacious covered outdoor area that also overlooks the sports fields. Addressing the southern side is achieved through the inner open spaces of the kindergarten via the Kirchweg. Distinct entrance areas are marked by external stair towers, which not only serve as circulation cores but also provide break spaces for each floor. The northern stair tower is envisioned as a viewing tower – Mirador – offering panoramic views of the alpine landscape over Brig-Glis, accessible to the public and serving as a gathering point. Clear access areas along the north-south axis of the building contribute to a well-defined layout of the school site.

The principle of «Plan libres,» combined with external stair cores, allows for maximum flexibility in internal space distribution. Access to respective floors is facilitated through unheated stair towers. Serving as flexible circulation spaces, the learning zones also function as arrival points and distribution spaces to classrooms and group rooms. This clustering principle enables easy identification with classrooms and supports flexible, cross-floor use of the school building. At ground level, the area at Kirchweg is divided into two sections, accommodating autonomous operation of the day school and kindergarten. Children access the day school’s outdoor space via the northern stair tower, leading directly to the garden playground. At the playground level, the ground floor features a spacious covered outdoor area with views of the double gymnasium below.

The construction principle allows for a flexible layout of the floor plan, especially for classrooms along the façade. Load-bearing and stiffening walls are minimized using a column-underslinging system. The floor construction comprises a composite ribbed slab with timber-concrete, while interior walls are constructed using lightweight and timber techniques. The building envelope incorporates a high proportion of prefabricated elements, facilitating rapid construction. The theme of sustainability permeates the daily lives of the school children, visually represented by maximum desealing of floors, natural landscaping with large-crowned trees, and the integration of photovoltaic panels into the stair towers, serving as experiential power plants and shelters for plants and animals alike.

Team: Sara Gelibter, Stefanie Balmer | Post date: 20/05/2024 | Views: 551