The annex of the Primary School in Schattendorf, a municipality in Burgenland, Austria, is a fine example of successful collaboration between committed architects and educators.
Besides its existing eight classrooms, the neo-classical two-winged and two-story building possessed hardly any useable areas. The building lacked an appropriate entrance area with an inviting hall, areas for eating, leisure time and breaks, and a gymnasium. Our aim was to use the reconstruction measures to enhance the existing building. The building in its entirety would contribute to the children’s wellbeing and increase their enjoyment in coming to school, which is definitely the case today. Schools in the countryside often still offer the classical model of afternoon supervision after school hours. We wanted to provide a new learning environment with an especially attractive gymnasium that would give children a positive experience during their afternoon stay.
The main entrance was transferred to the annex. A two-story hall now connects all areas. The new spaces need to be easily accessible from the existing ones. Burgenland has a Pannonian continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Elevating the gymnasium provided a protected open classroom beneath the hall which serves as a waiting area before and after school. These measures did not interfere with the open space, and its area is the same as before the annex. The gymnasium’s panorama window offers a view over the whole town. Today, the local community frequently uses the hall for after-school activities.
Sightlines between the different areas, for example between the break and eating area and the gymnasium, foster cohesion within the school community as well as communication. Thermal rehabilitation, functioning emergency exits, and accessibility were accomplished in the process as well.