Edlach Elementary School, Dornbirn (AT)

New pedagogical concepts demand new design solutions. To transform the elementary school in Edlach into a contemporary school, the teaching clusters and group rooms form small units with various spatial design possibilities. This concept offers different learning environments in a linear organization that reduces the circulation to a minimum. Located parallel to the existing gymnasium, the 70-meter-long new school building houses the classrooms on two levels. The link between the school and the gym is the glazed, multifunctional hall, also the main entrance to the school. Lowered by 70 centimeters, it gains in room height and – due to its separation from the school wing – perfectly suits as an event hall.

At the Edlach elementary school, the concept of the cluster school was implemented in an architecturally precise and economical manner without completely abandoning the original building structure. For the school community, the recognition value was preserved and allowed an easy orientation in the new structure of the all-day and inclusive teaching.

Client: Stadt Dornbirn
Location: A-6850 Dornbirn, Edlach
Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller
Project management: Peter Nussbaumer, Anna Norrgard, Christopher Braun
Competition: 2012
Construction: 2015-2016
Area: 3,770 m²
Ecology: lowest energy standard, 17kWh/m2/year
Capacity: 300 students / 12 classes

Award: 2017 National Award for Architecture and Sustainability

Planning
site management: Flatschacher, Hohenems / statics: gbd and Nagy, Dornbirn / HAVCR: Cukrowicz, Lauterach / electronics: Meusburger, Bezau / geotechnics: 3P Geotechnik, Bregenz / building physics: Weithas, Lauterach ///

Execution
builder: Wälderbau Dragaschnig, Schwarzenberg / timber construction and facade: Fussenegger, Dornbirn / timber walls and ceilings: Lenz-Nenning Möbelhandwerk, Dornbirn / glass: Marte, Bregenz / windows: Manahl Heinrich, Bludenz / electrics: EGD, Dornbirn / ventilation: Kranz Luft-Klima-Technik, Weiler

Photos: © Kurt Hörbst, © Bruno Klomfar

Clear Organization on two Levels

The ground floor includes the library, special classes, meeting and teachers’ rooms, as well as cloakrooms and bathrooms. Two freestanding concrete staircases lead to the double winged upper class floor. Each of the four clusters – grouped in pairs on a staircase – consists of three classes, two group rooms and a central lounge. The classes open to a glazed central core, generously flooded by daylight. It expands in some places and defines zones for group work and for relaxation. Two incised balconies on each end of the central zone on the first floor provide for outdoor classroom settings with a view and connect the interior spaces to the exterior.

The almost square classes allow differentiated teaching arrangements. Short distances and clear design simplify childcare. The basement has been scaled down to the minimum required for building services. The outdoor design strengthens the spatial connection between the schoolyard, the hall and the classroom wing. The recessed ground floor creates covered recreation areas and links the outdoor spaces with the school interior.

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Two freestanding concrete staircases lead to the actual classroom floor.
The glazed central core defines zones for group work and for relaxation.
Two incised balconies on the narrow sides of the classroom wing offer framed views.

Design with Timber

Wood is omnipresent, in the construction and the cladding of facades as well as in the interior design of classrooms. Oiled oak floors create a homely atmosphere. A special color concept complements the contrasting materiality of the glass auditorium, the functional rooms in concrete and the wooden classrooms: soft blue in the classes, glazes in green and yellow in the movement zones.

Gym: Wood In- and Outside

The gymnasium, gutted except for the shell and completely renovated, is also clad with silver fir slats. Walls, ceilings and doors are made of birch wood and new window bands bring light into the hall. The use of natural products and the attention into detail make this building a harmonious and cheerful place to learn.

Construction with "awarded" Sustainability

he ground floor consists of exposed concrete with internal insulation; the upper floor of the class wing was built as a concrete skeleton framework with a construction of insulated, prefabricated wooden elements. Angular concrete slabs along the north and south facades connect the gymnasium and auditorium on the outside. They form covered transitions between playgrounds and school building and the roofing for the bicycles in front of the gymnasium.

The use of ecological building materials and the consideration of the “grey” energy, the life cycle of materials and construction, receives increased attention within the framework of the KGA (municipal building certificate). The entire school has controlled ventilation. A large-scale PV system is installed on the roof of the classroom wing. The heating energy requirement is 17 kWh/m2a, which corresponds to the lowest energy standard.

The Edlach elementary school was awarded the State Prize for Architecture & Sustainability.

Concrete slabs along the north and south facades connect the gymnasium and auditorium and form covered transitions.