Smichov Primary School
Prague, Czech Republic, 2018
Education, public programe
Open international competition
Smichow Primary School
Prague, Czech Republic
Total floor area
classrooms and auditoriums, school libraries and departments, meeting/circulation space
Jurij Sadar, Boštjan Vuga, Maja Omerzel, Nina Vidič Ivančič, Aleš Pajk / cooperation: Energy concept: dr. Miha Praznik / Ljubljana, Slovenia
Our proposal for the new Smichov primary school is based on three starting points:
1. The school interior is developed as a learning-scape, set between five deep walls with niches and cuts,
2. The school has a dual character, permeable towards west and east, unveiling events in the school towards the public park and the sports ground, and porous, as a sequence of the deep walls towards south and north,
3. The primary school becomes a community center of the Smichov neighborhood.
DEEP WALLS AND THE LEARNING-SCAPE, HARD AND SOFT ROOMS
Our proposal for the new Smichov primary school is developed as a four-leveled learning-scape. The school consists of five deep massive parallel structural walls, which run in the east-west direction. In-between, a set of structural slabs is placed, defining the school’s interior spaces of different heights and lengths. The deep walls are partially hollow. They contain staircases, elevators and services. Niches or cuts of different sizes and shapes are carved out of the deep walls to extend and connect the learning-scape on each level. The deep walls border the school towards the south and the north, towards the east and the west and on some parts of the roof skylights and wooden framed glazing with curved tops are implemented to bring daylight deep inside the school.
The learning-scape approach completely turns the ratio of hard versus soft spaces of the school, from 70:30 of the modernist school into 30:70 of the spatial organization proposed for the new Smichov school. This means that only 30% of the entire surface of the school are ‘hard rooms’ with fixed walls and defined disposition of furniture and amenities, i.e. defined use. 70% of the surface present ‘soft rooms’, with adaptable use, light partitioning and changeable use according to specific needs of users.
Because of such an organization, the new school contains a variety of different learning ambiances, which smoothly transit through deep wall. The school is very compact, and its volume is low.
SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT THAT STIMULATES SENSES AND TRIGGERS IMAGINATION
Hard rooms of classrooms are characterized by their extension into storages or projection walls in the niches, whereas in the soft rooms, the niches and cuts offer a place of for meetings, individual learning and contemplating. The niches are of different shapes and sizes, thus providing a specific character of ambiences of the learning-scape. The levels of the school differ in height, its density and openness.
The school exterior has a dual character: it opens and unveils its life through the glazing towards the pedestrian street and the public park on the west, as well as to the sports park to the east. To the north and the south, the appearance of the school is much more expressive.
PUBLICNESS – PRIMARY SCHOOL AS A COMMUNITY CENTER OR A COMMUNITY CENTER AS A PRIMARY SCHOOL
The public character-publicness of its ground floor is the added value of the school in the larger community. The deep walls help separate particular parts when not in use.
The Smichov school with its openness for a public use tends to be fully occupied throughout the day. Well lit, the hard and soft rooms of a great diversity and atmosphere provide comfort and wellbeing for its most various users.