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duhovka elementary school

addition of a gym and offices to a private school

The private Duhovka Elementary School in Prague-Břevnov applies Maria Montessori′s philosophy of education. We were approached to take part in a competition for invited architects and submit a design for an addition to this institution. The school lacks a gym and offices for its administration. Aside from the two added boxes following the logics of the original building, our design contained also a new complete design of the outer areas of the school garden developed with landscapers from a05. more

The basis of our concept of the design of the building′s mass is respect to the primary regulation of the area and the situation established by the site morphology and accessibility. The building’s mass design focuses on working with two orthogonal boxes. The orthogonal volumetry is linked to the most economical utilisation of the playfield. Box 1 is, therefore, a gym. A gym needs high clearance; it needs daylight; yet lighting, i.e. an opening on the floor level, is not optimal for it. That is why the greater part of Box 1 is recessed in the ground along the east edge of the site with the floor on the 1st basement level. Visually, it is represented by the simplest possible block with translucent glazing along the perimeter of vertical sides. Box 2 is also a glazed block. There are nevertheless several minor differences. It is full of offices on two levels, and it is lengthwise wrapped in dark material keeping the longer sides open. Box 2 ´levitates´ above the courtyard because it contains a free car park below. In footprint, both boxes are seemingly of the same size. They differ in height that makes provision for the position towards the slope. The visual key to the material and formal appearance of the building is a presentation of the additions as a variation on the theme of two ´sibling´ transparent boxes; the bigger of these two gets an extra outer envelope. Therefore, the main pair of materials is glass (translucent in the form of Profilit glass or transparent in the form of clear flat glass) and the firm anthracite grey cladding establishing the envelope (sheet metal, Eternit, and similar). The dark envelope of the bigger box is broken by circular openings on the north and south fronts paraphrasing the motive of a rainbow marble. In other words – this is what the colour decoration of segments on north buttresses refers to in 3D; the plane was that the school founder would have its seat here. key • retaining of the rectangular spatial regulation inherent to the location • the concept of a pair of boxes above a footprint of the same size responding to the terrain • the rainbow marble is transparent • the rainbow marble is round • the rainbow marble is coloured • the school garden as a multi-purpose tool of entertainment/knowledge/sport

  • addressNad Kajetánkou 9
    Praha 6 - Břevnov
  • year2014
  • investorZákladní škola Duhovka, s.r.o.
  • design teamPetr Burian, Ondrej Pleidel
  • collaborationTomáš Herle, Hana Němečková
  • photographs/visualizationsTomáš Herle
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