Turin-based architectural firm BDR bureau has completed the transformation of the new Enrico Fermi School in Turin, Italy. The winning project of an international competition launched in 2016 by Torino Fa Scuola extended and functionally rethought an existing school building that was built in the 1960s.
The project involved reorganising the entrances and external spaces of the school: the back of the existing building has become the large new main entrance, shaping a green space while unfolding to the neighbourhood and emphasising the concept of a community school. The ground floor is an extension of the public space: integrating a series of services that are open to everyone.
“We wanted a project able to dialogue with the existing building and revolutionise its function at the same time. New spatial elements, transparencies and additions reinterpret the original structure with the aim of opening the school to the city,” say architects Alberto Bottero and Simona Della Rocca.
A new steel structure has created an ‘inhabited envelope’ with terraces that are an integral part of the teaching programme. The old building’s façades have been treated with a multigrain plaster, creating depth variations, while the façades of the new front and those facing towards the courtyards have large windows that blur the distinction between the indoor and outdoor spaces.
The ground floor is designed as a civic centre, with an atrium that’s directly connected with the garden and two entrances, and to the upper floors via a stairwell. The flexible library and auditorium space, the cafeteria and the gym complete the public spaces on the ground floor.
On the two upper floors, the atrium accommodates recreational and collective spaces, while the educational activities are organized in clusters – spatial units composed of classrooms, cloakrooms, services and informal learning spaces. BDR says this means “the classrooms become the meeting point and the linkage between inside and outside, retaining a visual connection to the common space and giving access to the terraces.”
BDR says the project also carries a higher ambition: “To set the standard by building a school in both the pedagogical and educational sense.