BGM ARCHITEKTEN: Walkermatte Day School - best architects 17


Walkermatte Day School

best architects 17

education buildings


Biel-Bienne / Switzerland


Roger Frei


The Walkermatte school complex is located on the southern slope of the Beaumont district in the city of Biel. The terraced exposed concrete ensemble is among the most significant 1960s schools in Biel and is listed in the city’s inventory of buildings. Its privileged park-like setting with old-growth trees formed the programme for the new extension of the day school for 60 children, incorporating a multipurpose hall. The floor-to-ceiling glazing in every room, amidst the surround-ing treetops overlooking the city, makes the genius loci immediately apparent throughout. The extremely restricted plot gave birth to the idea to make space for the new building as well as ensure optimal placement in relation to the existing structures by expanding the recess terrace. As a result, the day school with its deep canopy forms the culmination of the development cascade of the terraced schoolhouse. The rooms, arranged on a single storey, can be flexibly interconnected and are grouped around a central atrium that creates views through the interiors and to the outdoors. The interplay of oak floors, surfaces painted in a warm white, and large windows provides a triad of materials as a stage for colourful additions by the users of the building. The choice of timber frame construction gives the building the desired look, fits the concept of an extension to an existing kindergarten and ensures the desired flexibility.