179_Neufeld Thun competition


“Maria” reflects experiences and references related to proven and contemporary educational methods and their architectures. These influences span from Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Maria Montessori, Stow Jancasterian to ancient Greece. All these sources have influenced the proposed solution and specific results.
Urban Planning Concept: The Neufeld school complex plays a crucial role in the neighborhood. The expansive, labyrinthine school complex offers a variety of attractive amenities for the local community beyond regular school activities. The integral preservation of high-quality outdoor spaces and the maintenance of the urban impact of the historic school building ensemble constitute the mandatory guidelines for expanding the Neufeld school complex. The parallel offset positioning of these three new buildings ensures that the existing structures are not encroached upon, preserving them as a spatially distinct and protected ensemble due to their heritage status. Its compact lateral placement towards Weststrasse creates unexpectedly versatile permeability for the broad spectrum of intended uses across the entire school premises. The overall school environment improves and approaches a campus-like state with the new buildings, aligning with its educational mission.
Usage Distribution: The three-story point-shaped building accommodates the day school, the multipurpose hall with music and singing rooms, as well as the teacher facilities with caretaker services and individual support. The elongated, two-story building volume houses the basic level. The sports hall consolidates all new gym and sports facilities at the northwestern corner of the area, creating a defining corner point towards the adjacent open space.
Access: The school premises are now accessible and approachable from all four directions. As a result, the thoroughfare within the area is reserved for pedestrian and wheelchair traffic. Goods handling and emergency access for the fire department are facilitated through the existing Tiefgrabenweg.
Flexibility: “Maria” adheres to the principle of a modular school and educational concept. The spaces and rooms are functionally and modularly designed, allowing workstations and classrooms to be easily changed and combined during ongoing operations. Cluster layouts and single-room situations can alternate, and mobile partition structures allow for the flexible creation of large-scale configurations.
Architecture and Typology: “Maria” proposal is committed to the principles of ecological construction in terms of construction energy, operational energy, and maintenance. The reinterpreted typology of a contemporary educational and sports facility is fundamentally based on multifunctional and flexible building structures.
Participation: Maria takes into account the wishes gathered during the participatory process to the highest degree: space, flexibility, freedom of movement, water, color, and safety were incorporated into the design process and are now implemented in both the architecture and landscape of the present project. Maria emphasizes inclusion and naturally considers the concerns of people with disabilities.

Outdoor Space Design: In a chessboard-like pattern, buildings and open spaces are interconnected in a structural order. The green space serves as a meeting place for all students and residents of the neighborhood, as well as for as many “wild” plant and animal species as possible. The new pavement materials are envisioned as finely detailed concrete paving, deliberately providing a seamless transition to the green areas and enabling surface drainage “over the shoulder.” Existing sealed asphalt surfaces are selectively opened and equipped with permeable insets. The new roof surfaces of the school buildings feature an energy green roof with a mineral substrate and elevated, partial PV modules. The roof employs highly active evapotranspiration. The remaining roof water is infiltrated into retention basins. The roof surface of the sports hall serves as both a sports field, street workout area, and recreational space.
BIM (Building Information Modeling): With a streamlined 3D planning approach and modern BIM (Building Information Modeling) software, both the client and the appointed planning team benefit from efficiency, agility, and planning as well as cost certainty.
Economic Viability: Wooden buildings are economically viable when they feature a clear orthogonal grid that extends throughout the entire structure.
Sustainability: “Maria” meets the requirements for SNBS Gold (Educational Buildings) and Minergie P ECO. The resource needs and CO2 emissions during construction are consistently minimized. The crucial resource “land” is preserved through a maximally compact and efficiently designed building structure. Wood is the building material of the future! Why? Each cubic meter of timber binds around 1 ton of CO2, which remains stored in the building throughout its entire lifespan.
Construction of the Sports Hall: Due to the presence of non-immediately load-bearing soil, a technical solution involves lowering the gymnasium. Fifteen solid wood beams with dimensions of 440mm/1800mm rest on wooden supports measuring 440/440mm. The mass required for sound insulation is applied as an elastically bound lime gravel fill on the roof elements and serves simultaneously as an installation plane.
Construction of the School Building: Both buildings are constructed from HolzPur prefabricated elements, embodying a pioneering spirit in construction. These cores serve as mass storage and climate regulators.
Summer Thermal Protection: Mobile louvre blinds allow for individual darkening and glare protection of the hall area. Sun protection in the school buildings is provided by external vertical awnings, while glare protection is ensured by internal curtains.
Comfort in School and Workspaces: The potential use of mobile fabric blinds, fabric curtains, or glass partitions with parquet floors, along with an agile heat emission system, creates a very high level of comfort for users.
Energy Concept: Architecture, facade, and building technology are optimally coordinated, achieving the highest comfort with minimal energy consumption.
Energy Generation: Both the sports hall and the school area will be equipped with their own substations for heating and hot water, keeping the distribution paths short. Photovoltaic systems on the flat roofs will meet current energy standards.
Heat Distribution: Built-in convectors are envisaged as the heat distribution system in the common areas, auxiliary rooms, classrooms, and general teaching spaces.
Ventilation Concept for School Building: All school rooms are accessed with decentralized supply and exhaust air risers from the roof.
Ventilation Concept for Sports Hall and Changing Rooms: The combined ventilation for the sports hall and changing rooms operates as a so-called cascade ventilation system. The low-tech solution of air overflow from the sports hall to the changing rooms provides an excellent solution from both technical and economic perspectives.
Sanitary Facilities for School Building and Sports Hall: The individual wet cells and classrooms are accessed via direct riser zones from the technical central in the basement.



District of Allmendingen, Dürrenast, Neufeld (ADN),

Stadt THUN


Fecha / date:
JUNE 2023


Equipo / Project Design & Fabrication :
KOCHER-MINDER architekten + aZCÓN architectures SLP (MaZKs)

Matthias Kocher, architect FH SIA SWB

Michael Minder, architect FH SIA SWB

Antonio Sanmartin, architect MArchll GSD Harvard University USA


Consultants and Expert:
Landscape architecture: Hofman Landscape Architects

Wood Construction Engineering: Pirmin Jung Switzerland AG
Building services engineer:
Sustainability: Gruner AG


Dennis Hari, architect BA HSLU
Francisco Pereira, architect MA ZFH
Paula Zecchin, architect BA UNC
Ana Lorena Lodeiros, architect
Laurent Volz, Cand. ZFA

Vídeo de las discusiones del jurado

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