Biel, CH | Delémont, CH


School Ried-Brig

Ried-Brig is small village situated along the road that connects through the Simplon Pass, the Canton of Valais in Switzerland with Italy. Its small and picturesque historic city-center was during the last decades circumscribed by a natural urban expansion. Although it has kept its attractiveness it has lost its centrality and significance. The project site is situated at the entrance of this historic city center and encompasses the village school premises, a parking lot and a sports facility building. All these elements are scattered on the existing geography and are the result of successive interventions throughout the years, resulting in a space without a clear order and identity.

The project sought to solve these problems through punctual interventions disseminated through the site creating a new urban identity for Ried-Brig.

The project envisions a new urban setting based on a “New Village Square”. 

From there, a series of footpaths takes the user through a sequence of different levels organizing each individual part of the project – the Community House, the School Extension, and the Nursery. Each of these buildings has a singular architectural expression as a sign of their direct correlation with the existing constructions and sports facilities.

The first part of this three-way assignment, the Nursery, lays at the higher sector of the plot at the east. Its location keeps a well-adjusted distance to the rest of the school complex. The structure works as a pivot, solving the street corner and the direct rapport with the neighboring sport-facility.

The building uses the steep slope of the terrain as an opportunity to create two ground levels. One towards the street with its public entrance and the school restaurant, the other enclosing two kindergarten rooms facing the pastures. Splitting the program into two different floors was also an elegant way of sorting out the safety aspects related to this kind of teaching facilities.

At south façade, with its playful geometry, two big windows stand out underlining the visual and spatial connection of the nursery with the astonishing surrounding landscape of the swiss Alps. The north façade consists of one door-window that runs across the length of the nursery, allowing an easy and natural connection between the classrooms and the playground. Closing the building, a single pitched gable accommodates a rooftop solar power system. 

The use of concrete for the exterior façades was a logical choice. At an altitude of 900m, snow is an issue to consider when selecting building materials. As a contrast to the outside appearance, the interior is all in wood, bringing some comfort and coziness to the children.

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Status: Built
Location: Ried, CH
Firm Role: architect
Additional Credits: photos by Adrien Barakat