Projects / Diefenbachgasse Secondary School
The school was conceived as an open structure in the framework of the city. In contrast to the enclosed complex, the design allows for views of the outside from the courtyard and vice versa. This openness is manifested in the terrace above the gymnasium, which is spanned by the classroom levels and forms a large open window between courtyard and the outdoors. More vistas can be found in the area around the new main entrance and the multi-purpose hall.
Integration into the Environment
The school site is surrounded by a highly mixed building structure. The neighboring buildings are heterogeneous both in their heights as well as in the ages of the buildings. The arrangement of the school annex is essentially determined by the site allocation and the building lines. Nevertheless, the building lines still respond to the surroundings through staggering the volumes and partially retreating into the background.
The changing width of the street space along Storchengasse is continued by the building lines – with the ground floor gymnasium and the freely elevated, recessed second floor. Thus, a differentiated and permeable structure emerges in an area very strictly limited by office buildings.
Special attention is also given to the connection with the existing school. The existing building’s pronounced projection is highlighted in the area where the two buildings connect by staggering the building masses of the new construction as a three-dimensional element. This striking position, linking old and new buildings, houses the new main entrance for the entire school complex, which is accentuated by a 5m-high covered forecourt.
The open space in the courtyard will be considerably augmented by the covered terrace above the gym, which will offer areas with a variety of ambience. While the courtyard provides space for movement and boisterous games, the terrace serves as a quieter area for relaxing and reading. The terrace can be used as an open-air classroom.
The courtyard preserves the existing stock of trees and the hill is included in the design of open spaces as a communicative place as well as a landscape element and decorated with step seating up to the lawn. A central green space remains, surrounded by paths and serving as a zone for movement and leisure.
The new structure creates a spaciousness missing from the existing building. The entire circulation and the rest areas come together in an open three-story hall with class windows looking out onto the courtyard. This hall serves as a central meeting point and break area and also provides connections from two floors to the courtyard and terrace. The multipurpose room can be opened to the hall, thereby creating the possibility for larger events and festivals.
The central task of the design is to create a new barrier-free circulation for the school. The new entrance leads into the large main hall and from there either via a ramp directly into the existing building or by elevator or staircase to the upper floors of the new building. The new staircase connects all floors of both buildings, and the same floor heights of the existing building are used in the annex for the most direct and accessible connection between each building. The cloakrooms are located next to the staircase on each floor to ensure an efficient path from the entrance to the classrooms.
Since the two adjacent streets are blind alleys with thus very little traffic and hardly any noise, it is possible to position the classrooms facing the street to the north and west. Open spaces in the courtyard, the passageways and break areas are oriented to the south and east.
This division of space contributes to distraction-free learning in the classrooms and a smooth transition from interior and exterior spaces to the break areas. To avoid overheating, the glass surfaces are equipped with external sun protection.
|Address||Diefenbachgasse 21- 27, Vienna, 1150|
|Usable Space||3,900 m2|