Schulanlage Leimbach Leimbach, Switzerland 2021

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.

Image 1

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    The urban design of Leimbach school responds to the picturesque character of the suburban landscape and forms an ensemble of three buildings – primary school, library and nursery
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    The body of the school building is formed by a light wood-concrete material hybrid with 5 floors above ground and 3 below ground
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    Site plan
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    Ground and first floor plan
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    Second to fourth and fifth floor plan
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    This space, with its circular opening and curved staircase, connects all publicly accessible spaces and allows for detached functionality independent of the school
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    The arrangement of the clusters expresses itself as an enfilade of spaces: a highly efficient spatial concept with optimised and useful circulation areas reminiscent of a domestic character
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    The superstructure comprises a hybrid strategy that combines timber frame with minimal amounts of reinforced concrete to achieve a net zero carbon solution
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    1:500 model


  • Area: 12,700m2
  • Form of contract: Competition
  • Client: Stadt Zürich
  • Architect: WV Architecten
  • Engineer: Schnetzer Puskas Ingenieure
  • Landscape Architect: Ghiggi Paesaggi
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