The extension of the Vogesen School is one in a series of school buildings that were built to meet the requirements arising from the Basel education reform. In conjunction with the St. Johann School and the Pestalozzi School, the Vogesen School defines a courtyard that is open along its southwestern edge. The two older school buildings, two freestanding structures with green spaces at their entrance, communicate the institutional character of their function. They stand in marked contrast to the new building that immediately borders the St. Johann-Ring and, with its partial setbacks and alignment to existing buildings, dovetails into its surroundings. Furthermore, its scale has been adapted to the neighboring buildings. Accordingly, in its proportions and simplicity it possesses the character that is customary to a public school building.
The building was completed in two stages. The first stage (1994) focused on the section adjacent to the existing sports hall. This hall was moved underground during the second stage (1996). The section that was erected in its place gives the new strucutre its striking rotational symmetry. The staircase marks the fulcrum point between the two sections. The staircase differs in its arrangement from the traditional scheme where the stairwells and corridors define a T-shaped access system. The stairs continue an upward movement that starts from the outside stairs leading up to the building’s entrance.
A steel and cement composite construction method ensured the quick turn-around of either section. Moreover, this allowed greater flexibility when subdividing the building into individual rooms than was possible with the former school buildings.
The encasment consists of large artificial stone blocks that have been dyed using ground naturally green stone. The sandblased stone blocks are dry stacked and offset in relation to each other. Painted encasements made of wood frame the unusually large windows.
The lighting in the classrooms received particular attention. Through the large windows natural light reaches the far corners of the rooms. Artist Peter Suter developed the color concept of the rooms, which aims to reflect the light off the walls in bright color tones. The pastel colors used to paint the two facing corner walls reflect the tonality of the nineteenth and twentieth century urban environment that surrounds the school building and carry it into the classrooms. This accentuates the interior space in a manner that underscores the desire not to give the classrooms an inevitable frontal arrangement facing the blackboard.
Client: Baudepartement Kanton Basel-Stadt, Hochbau- und Planungsamt
Location: St. Johanns-Ring 17, Basel, Switzerland
Gross Floor Area (GFA): 6.150 m²
Use / Function: classrooms, library, storage, gym, caretaker's appartment
Structural Engineer: Cyrill Burger & Partner
Mechanical Engineer: Bogenschütz, Hunziker + Partner
Colour Concept Classrooms: Peter Suter