Paper Scissors Rock

An urban area in upheaval. Major structural changes are about to take place in the “garden city” of Schwamendingen in the north-east of Zurich. The extensive replacement of housing estates and the upgrading of the neighbourhood by motorway enclosure and overland park announce a significant population growth. In the Saatlen neighbourhood, the number of inhabitants is expected to increase up to 39% by 2035. The city of Zurich is facing the foreseeable overuse of existing school space with an ambitious building project: The Saatlen school complex will be the largest school complex in the city with 24 primary and 12 secondary classes as well as 4 kindergartens. In addition, generous infrastructures for school and club sports will be created.
In an open competition, 50 teams applied for the project planning of the new replacement building, which is supposed to be ready for occupancy by 2027. The submission “Schere Stein Papier” by the team Bollhalder Eberle Architektur / vetschpartner Landschaftsarchitekten, which included the façade planners from Lüchinger+Meyer, was awarded first prize after the final revision.

Taking up the playful title of the project in terms of design, the winning project is composed of three different-sized unpretentious structures arranged along the Tramstrasse. The façade, with its decidedly restrained design, was designed – like the entire building – with sustainable construction in mind and consists primarily out of wood or fibre-cement elements. Only the rhythmic vertical struts and the climbing frames above the two terraces are made of metal.
The jury praised the precise architectural accents of the design. “With its versatile qualities, the new Saatlen school complex is expected to enjoy a high level of acceptance among users, residents and the general public and to become a place that creates identity for the entire neighbourhood.”

Due to the pandemic, a public exhibition of the competition entries is currently not possible, but all interested parties are invited to discover the submitted projects virtually: Exhibition.

(Visualisations: maaars architektur visualisierungen, Zurich)