Kast Kaeppeli Architekten: Renovation and addition of Spitalacker Primary School Bern - best architects 22

Kast Kaeppeli Architekten

Renovation and addition of Spitalacker Primary School Bern

best architects 22

renovation and addition


Bern, Switzerland


Rolf Siegenthaler


The centre of the project is the gymnasium of Spitalacker Primary School in Bern, a sports facility designed in the 1970s, which is used by local sports clubs and the adjoining primary school. Until recently, the subterranean garage beneath the building was occupied by the fire department. With the departure of the fire department, the changed spatial requirements of the school and the need for structural renewal, a reorganisation and expansion of the facility were planned. The project contains and encloses the existing gymnasium with two, four-storey extensions, one on each side. With its higher elevation, the volume to the west refers to the former fire department barracks across the road, while the extension to the east defines the boundary of the playground, providing an urban edge for the football field. The extension is planned as a flexible spatial structure, which is accessed by a central, double flight of stairs, leading to entryway zones on the upper floors with wardrobes and open «learning landscapes» in front of the classrooms. The attached multi-purpose rooms can be subdivided according to different needs, providing flexible learning and teaching areas on every floor. The roof of the gymnasium has been transformed into a green schoolyard which also serves as a corridor between the two extensions. The façade made out of suspended sandblasted concrete elements references the historic schoolhouse in organisation and colour scheme, creating a dialogue between new and old.