Tubre, in the Bolzano province, grew up along the road to Val Mstair in the Canton of Grisons and now a multi-stage project is underway to develop the town centre. Making the public buildings a main axis is central to this regeneration, refurbishment and new development process. Constructing a new primary school, refurbishing the old Schwarzer Adler Hotel to become a centre for local associations and revamping the gym are all pieces needed to complete the puzzle of this new town centre, along with building a new town hall and a multi-purpose complex next to the primary school. As the work will happen over a period of time, some functions will temporarily be housed in different buildings, as spaces become ready.
The new primary school is key to redefining the small town square, touched by the main road that runs through town. The façades of the three buildings (school, gym, and the building for local associations) enclose this square, with much of the character coming from the school edifice. The simple geometric elements of the façade are quite striking. The glazed entrance and the variously sized and shaped windows (square and rectangular) create a dynamic interplay with the plastered sections. The roof slopes are at different angles for functional reasons (the north-west is much steeper to allow sunlight into the largest school courtyard), but as such they also define the building.
The north-west façade is split into two segments extending onto the square. The large upper window follows the intersection line between the two planes of the elevation, in correspondence with the ridge of the roof.
The use of volumes, shapes and materials draws on traditional local architecture, integrating gently with the nearby the buildings through the use of well-balanced transformations.
The closely spaced windows for the classrooms, which are aligned on the two upper floors along the south-eastern façade overlooking the street, introduce some identifiable elements, such as the centrality of the larger window to allow additional sunlight into the activity area, and the relationship between solids and voids, used to define the line of the windows for the normal classrooms. Such elements are then picked up by the other façades. As the outer walls are quite thick, the design plays with the splay of the windows, helping to develop the overall rhythm of the building, although in a minor key.
The school building also houses the library, on the ground floor, with a separate street-level entrance. The internal organisation is fairly clear: the stairs are located virtually in the centre, the rooms on the upper floors overlook the square and the storage rooms are located in the internal section. The indoor spaces where children can go at break time all look onto the courtyards. On the middle floor, a large window, segmented by wooden sections, opens onto the largest courtyard, which sits slightly above road level and has various items of outdoor furniture.
The access to the courtyard, the large glazed section, the indoor double-height space and the decorative wood panelling all help create a positive sensory experience, encouraging people to stop and enjoy the space, rather than merely pass through. The classrooms all have the same pleasant combination of light (through large glazed sections, either split into separate windows or as a single opening), wood, and functional yet elegant furniture, such that the desks that can be re-arranged in multiple ways to encourage exchange during learning.
Location: Tubre, Bolzano
Client: Comune di Tubre, Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano
Cost of Construction: 2,384,757 Euros
Architects: CeZ Calderan Zanovello Architetti - Carlo Calderan, Rinaldo Zanovello
Contractor: Bau Reinalter
Structural: Herbert Mair
Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Systems: Studio Planconsulting
Safety: Ingegneri Patscheider & Partner
Photography: © Nicolò de Giorgi
CeZ Calderan Zanovello Architetti
CeZ Architetti was set up in Bolzano in 2003 by Carlo Calderan and Rinaldo Zanovello after winning a competition for a new primary school in Vipiteno, which was completed in 2010. Since then, the firm has participated in 60 competitions and won numerous awards.
The firm looks after every stage of projects, including site management, furniture design, and landscape architecture.
Current projects include the Tubre town hall, a library with a sheltered workshop in San Martino in Passira, the restoration of the Bressanone town hall, and a new day centre for Alzheimer’s patients in Castelfranco Veneto with architect Martina Davanzo.
In 2011, the firm won the Sixth Premio d’Architettura Alto Adige for the new German-language primary school in Vipiteno.