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Primary school

Municipality of Riccione, Italy
Archisbang, Areaprogetti
3.000 m²

Zavalloni suggests reclaiming an authentic sense of time: our society is overwhelmed by the use of sight, with children bombarded by visual stimuli. Immediacy is the order of the day, and quantity is the natural consequence. Giving space to the other four senses means slowing down, taking the time to listen and perceive the rhythm of natural time, of which seasonality is an expression. This approach is qualitative and impacts all moments of school structure use by children, teachers, parents, and grandparents. It encompasses teaching, practical and laboratory activities, reading, both individual and collective, contributing to raising a generation of future readers (in contrast to alarming ISTAT data), children curious about their surroundings, who learn with analytical tools alongside the web.

In every part of the school, natural light filters in, and the glass sections allow visual contact with the weather. The view of the green inner courtyard showcases the spectacle of changing seasonal hues.

The courtyard comes alive with the warmth of the beautiful season and admits silence during the colder months, much like the city of Riccione itself, which is greatly influenced by seasonality due to the influx of summer tourists.

The aromatic plants in the educational gardens, the seasonal blooms that follow one another and dictate new olfactory sensations.

In the cooking laboratory, new activities are experimented with, ingredients are mixed, and the seasonal fruits of the earth are tasted.

The temperature on the skin during outdoor activities throughout the year, the warmth of winter protection, the contact with play surfaces (the grass in the courtyard in the summer, the wood of indoor furnishings in the colder months).

To enhance sensory perception, the aim is to enrich the complexity and material variety of the environments, introducing softness, smoothness, and elasticity into spaces often composed of few, predominantly hard materials. The richness of the material landscape supports children in their journey of learning and building their own identity.

The project introduces a range of sunny, bright colors, although moderately saturated, with the aim of enriching the children's color landscape and providing shades and colors that are not trivial, moving away from the simplified world of primary colors.

The use of colorable graphics that tell the evocation of seasons and the approach to the five senses allows for personalizing environments, leaving room for children's imagination.

Urbanistic concept

La scuola, sviluppata su un solo piano fuori terra, occupa interamente il lotto, disponendosi sullo schema di un ellisse allungato che ospita in ventre il giardino dedicato al gioco ed all’apprendimento dedicato ai bambini. Allo stesso tempo essa offre una nuova vita al parco urbano che si sviluppa come una morbida promenade a spirale in copertura, con schermatura verso l’interno, percorribile a piedi o in bicicletta: un polmone verde restituito alla città, che guadagna in ariosità e luce con il passaggio di quota.

Design approach

The school, developed on a single above-ground level, completely occupies the lot, taking the form of an elongated ellipse that houses a garden dedicated to children's play and learning at its center. Simultaneously, it breathes new life into the urban park, which unfolds like a gentle spiral promenade on its rooftop. This rooftop park includes inward-facing shielding, accessible on foot or by bicycle, serving as a green lung returned to the city. This transformation enhances openness and natural light by elevating the park's elevation.

Functional aspects

The classrooms are arranged facing each other according to their respective classes (1a and 1b, 2a and 2b, etc.), facilitating "horizontal" interaction through a green strip that connects them. Inside, they are divided by movable walls to allow joint activities between classes from successive years.

The school is accessible from the south through the entrance atrium, which connects to the teachers' parking area and the parent drop-off zone. From here, the green pathway of the urban park begins, running alongside the school along the scenic route and ascending to the elevated garden via a gentle ramp. This greenery acts as a visual buffer between the school and the backside of adjacent residential buildings.

The cafeteria has dual access, convenient from the outside for supply vehicles. The gym and the library, with an interior space set up as a theater usable for performances or small conferences, have independent external access. This design allows them to host activities serving the city without interfering with the school structure itself.

The separation of pathways ensures smooth flows: outdoor access is via the courtyard for shorter paths, while indoors, everything is accessible through the perimeter corridor. This corridor is enriched with reading areas and informal furniture, blending with traversable environments.

The teachers' lounge also has dedicated external access and is designed as a pleasant space for private leisure moments, meetings with colleagues or parents, dialogue, correction, and individual deepening, directly connected to the library.

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