Isengrind school complex


Im Isengrind, 8046 Zürich

Type of contract

Competition, 2020


City of Zurich, Building Department


S2L GmbH, Zürich

The new buildings for the Isengrind secondary school are set in a neighbourhood in the northern periphery of Zurich shaped by modernist ideas, surrounded by large buildings and park-like green spaces. Two clear building volumes set perpendicular to one another form an autonomous urban disposition, while remaining situated in their context. Seven stories tall, the rectangular school building relates to the nearby towers. The pavilion-like sports hall on the other hand takes on the diagonal, which one also finds in the other public buildings. Both buildings have a compact basement, which means only a minimal excavation is needed. The school building and sports hall create two triangular open spaces: a place of arrival on the street, and in the depth of the site a quieter school yard. The latter is connected with the school by a new promenade through the park. More

Their covered main entrances are located at the point where the two volumes almost touch one another. In the sports hall one finds a spectators’ gallery along the west facade. A double-height foyer opposite forms the entrance to the school building and borders on the multipurpose room as well as the staircase. The cafeteria of the primary school as well as the music rooms have their own entrances. On the first floor one finds the library and rooms for the staff and school leadership. The second storey is a kind of division, which structures the building both inside and out. The cafeteria for the secondary school and special needs school, along with the associated supervision and common rooms. The freely divisible spatial continuum is glazed all around and surrounded by a covered terrace, which the pupils can use to study and relax. From the terrace and bridge leads to the all-weather pitch, which is found on top of the roof of the sports hall. High up among the trees and with a view over the surrounding park landscape, the sports and recreation area of the secondary school has a unique character. Above this second floor of shared spaces, the everyday life of the school continues. There are then three stories for the secondary school, with a total of six clusters of classrooms and group rooms set around a versatile centre. The specialised classrooms such as workshops, science laboratories and kitchen classrooms are found on the uppermost floor.
As a public institution, the school assumes a particular place within the neighbourhood. The two lower floors of the school building and the sports hall are distinguished by their extensive glazed facades. These give this two-storey volume a certain transparency, reflecting their half public uses. In the school building, the expression changes on the floors above the glazed cafeteria. The spandrels in the facades of the teaching floors are clad with greenish shimmering structural glass elements with integrated photovoltaic panels, which emphasise the horizontal. Along the south facade the staircase projects out over the entire height of the building, giving the school building an accent. With this projecting element, the building enters into a dialogue with its environment, such as those buildings with projecting bay windows in the nearby group of tall buildings.

Sports field on the roof of the gymnasium
Ground floor
Break area between the buildings
Open recreation floor on the second floor
Second floor
Common centre on the classroom floor
Southern facade
Longitudinal section through the gymnasium
back to top