This proposal for a primary school and nursery sits in the foothills of the Uetliberg mountain, on the western shore of lake Zürich. Small, medium and large, the tripartite ensemble of timber pavilions settles on the hillside around a retained lime tree, negotiating between the domestic and civic scales of the suburban landscape: its houses and churches. Part new build, part adaptive re-use, the scheme works hard to minimise its environmental impact.
A carbon neutral timber superstructure creates an intimate, comfortable, and flexible learning landscape. Simple and efficient forms minimise heat loss, while an existing building is given a new ‘coat and hat’, significantly improving its thermal performance and cultivating a new identity for the nursery that it hosts. The ambition for carbon neutrality extends to the façade, where a locally sourced timber cladding is formed into canted panels, shading classrooms whilst orientating children to the natural world outside.