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Primary School

A Pivotal Place For a Small Community

Marx/Ladurner Architekten

Primary School
By Caterina Testa -

Nestled into the slopes that rise abruptly from the Adige River valley floor, the small village of Oris is part of the municipality of Lasa in Italy’s northern Alto Adige (South Tyrol) Region, not far from Merano and close to the Swiss and Austrian borders. The old village center has been englobed by newer constructions that now include a primary school and gym. Located in the higher reaches of the town, the new building stands on the site of the former school that no longer met today’s energy or educational requirements.
The two-step public competition called by Lasa’s town authorities first of all whittled down the 80 general concept submissions to 15 finalists, who then produced detailed architectural plans. The winner, the Marx/Ladurner Architekten practice based in the Alto Adige region, complied fully with the brief for a new school with five classrooms whose flexible layout allowed for a range of teaching approaches and a gym.

The practice has years of architectural experience building for towns and villages of the region’s valleys and mountains. Although contemporary, their residential work, schools, and hotels all slip effortlessly into the characteristic urban fabric of the area. Through careful study and understanding of the proportions and typologies of the vernacular architecture of the region, they have developed a contemporary language whose materials and forms although echoing the built stock of the context, do not, however, fall into the trap of artificial mimicry.

The Oris primary school dialogues with the old farmhouses along the road and with the landscape of vineyards that come right up to the new building. An L-shaped volume with a large playground between the two wings, it opens out towards the road to the south-east so as to benefit from natural daylight during school hours. A portico connects the two wings: the first, a north-south section with two above-grade stories and a partial...

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