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Nuove strutture scolastiche comunali

Municipality of San Vittore, Italy
9.900 m²

Territorial integration and identity

The municipality of San Vittore, already marked by the division of the Cantonale road that sharply separates the historic village from the subsequent urbanization to the south, is affected by the fragmentation created by recent residential expansion.

The project proposes the new school complex as a counterpoint to the Pala Tower and works on reconnecting, redefining a centrality through the redevelopment of the public area in front of the cylindrical tower of the Church of San Lucio, extending towards the gymnasium and the basketball court.

Civic center

Located in the northeast corner of the intervention site, the building defines a new square while establishing a relationship with the former Administration building (envisioned to be redeveloped for public use) and the opening of the Mezzera path, a preferred pedestrian connection to the town center. The stepped access, which manages the elevation change, enhances the urban significance of the space and creates a permeable north-south axis between the village and the park, facilitated by the transparency of the atrium. Aligning with Via San Carlo consolidates the framework of residential development to the east and allows the street, designed for hybrid and slow traffic, to serve as both a service access and a driveway to the building.

Design approach

The weight of the institution is embodied by a massive architecture fissured along the two access axes, establishing a dialogue with the context through deep vistas and defining the four functional spaces centered around the central atrium. The more public functions, such as the multipurpose hall and the laboratories, face the northern square to facilitate non-school use, while the elementary school and kindergarten open towards the park, offering varying degrees of seclusion and openness to the outside.


The vertical load-bearing structure is in concrete, set on a modular grid of 8.30x8.30 meters. The floors are made of wood, as well as the central core of the glass atrium. The exposed concrete facade features a textured surface with linear patterns achieved through formwork with varying depths of grooves. The imprint of wood on the concrete interacts with the wood elements treated using the shou sugi ban technique, making them particularly weather-resistant and durable over time. The same formwork can be reused for this purpose, reflecting an approach aimed at optimization and sustainability.

A different idea of school

A space for curious discovery and growth: the environments are spacious and flexible, with a welcoming and articulated layout. Circular pathways encourage movement and interaction. The relationship between interior and exterior spaces is a consistent theme: from early childhood to elementary school, each classroom extends outdoors into a covered and protected space, essential for experiential activities and crucial in managing social distancing and health precautions following recent emergencies.

The design of the school's spaces is aimed at a hybrid and diversified use of the entire building and its external areas, envisioning a school that can continually adapt to provide a functional setting for competency-based education. Simultaneously, it aims to better respond, during in-person learning, to any crisis moments that may arise.


The garden

The school garden and equipped green space available to the community form a park that includes a playground for children, located near the Mezzera pathway and in connection with the school's agora area. The straightforward design of the pathways links it southward to the former railway line path, alongside a large lawn for free play, which can also be equipped as a soccer field.

Sustainability and vision

In the curriculum proposed with 21th floor, particular attention is focused on the theme of education for sustainable development. If the school building itself embodies these principles, children will have a concrete and stimulating educational opportunity available to them.

The extended competition area

The project envisages a comprehensive redevelopment of pathways using two types of paving:

  • continuous paving with stone blocks;

  • discontinuous paving with transverse stone slabs, mixed with grass.

The former defines more urban and cycle paths, while the latter caters to more rural, predominantly pedestrian routes integrated into the surrounding greenery. The most significant access points to the large intervention area are marked by signage totems (lamellae in burnt wood) or, in the case of Piazza Pala, by a small information box equipped for bike-trekking. All parking surfaces are treated with permeable interlocking blocks for green drivable areas. Seating in tiers outlines the terrain at various points, utilizing gradients to create communal areas.

The square in front of the gymnasium is paved to enhance its urban character, with existing trees integrated into a grid of circular flowerbeds and circular seats, incorporating existing monumental rocks. It is suggested to refurbish the gymnasium with a cladding of burnt wood slats in Shou Sugi Ban style.

The Mezzera path is enhanced as the main pedestrian link between the civic school center and the town center, maintaining its countryside character with a visible water line, grass, and loose stone. Slow mobility is encouraged and predominant: vehicular routes, located on segments of mixed and limited traffic, are reduced to essentials to serve the school, facilitate parking areas, and ensure access for residents.

The former Chancellery building plays a significant volumetric role in defining the public space in front of the entrance to the new complex and can contribute to strengthening the institutional value of the area. Therefore, it is suggested to maintain it, with external refurbishment returning it to its pure volume, devoid of protrusions, using a single cladding material that harmonizes chromatically with the square and the new building.

The ground floor, in relation to the covered canopy, could accommodate services related to light mobility, while the upper floors could be dedicated to hospitality related to this type of tourism. The connection of the tiered seating to the existing building is achieved through the construction of a reinforced concrete retaining wall against the basement stairs to the west, ensuring protection and access during the construction of the school complex.

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