Preska Primary School
Open Anonymous Architectural Competition for a new 27-unit primary school
Preska, Medvode, 2019
Three stepped descending volumes, each with its own central hall - 'white space' - cascading diagonally for informal learning and interaction.
The location sits on the southern edge of the Preska village, extending over the edge of the Sava terrace with an elevation drop of 8 m. To the east there are magnificent views of Šmarna gora, Grmada and the Kamnik-Savinja Alps in the northeast. The quality of the space is thus represented by views to the east and southeast. The location has a pronounced landscape character.
The boundary of the building plot is jagged, with a marked east-west direction. The orientation of the classrooms to the south is thus countered by the falling terrain to the east. The plot size itself does not comply with the Elementary School Building Guidelines. Consequently, it is necessary to find a way to maximize the use of the plot in order to provide as much outdoor living space for the pupils as possible. Three stacked volumes were designed, descending down the terrain, creating a building mass, merely four meters high on the village side, retaining beautiful views towards nearby hills over the lower Sava terraces.
Classrooms normally appear as a closed, strictly defined modules with optimal southern illumination. Design thinking has led us to divide space into a defined (‘black’) and undefined (‘white’) space. The volumes were formed by placing black spaces at the perimeter and a ‘white space’ in the central void. Along the perimeter there are rooms for group work – classrooms with flexible partitions that allow for changing the space to accommodate various needs, special classrooms, staff/teacher’s rooms/offices services, etc. In this way, the central space is freed up to allow for the creation of a covered, naturally lit lobby where undefined – ‘white program’ can be located. The white space flows through all levels and binds the entire school into a whole. Each triad has its own central space. Through the entrance of the 3rd triad on the west side we pass and see into the underground gym whilst continuing diagonally under the library to the level of the 2nd triad with the dining hall. Further down diagonally the path continues to the lowest triad (youngest pupils). Each triad builds its identity around the central space, which forms the whole of the school common spaces. The glass roof provides natural illumination for the central hall of all three levels.
The building is designed in three levels. At the highest level the 3rd triad, special classrooms with teachers’ offices, lockers for the 3rd triad and a library are located. From here you can access the sports roof – which has a running track, a mid-level roof and the terrain. The middle level holds the 2nd triad, most of the service areas, a dining room with a kitchen and a gym. Access from the terrain is also possible at this level. The first triad is located at the lowest level, which has direct access to the terrain on the south and southwest sides of the building and is connected to the outdoor school garden, outdoor classrooms and a playground. The school administration is also located at this level.
An essential feature of our landscape design is that traffic - and service spaces are separated and hidden from the users of sports and children's playgrounds and the park by hedges. The rooftops of all three volumes have outdoor areas for students. Tartan pavements allow for multipurpose use, increasing the areas of the outdoor living space with the placement of playgrounds and urban furnishings while providing unspoiled views to the east and south.
Location: Preska, Medvode, Slovenia
Project date: 2019
Site area: 14.394 m2
Building area: 2.038 m2
Total floor area: 7.035 m2
Client: Medvode Municipality
Authors: SVET VMES, d.o.o.: Jure Hrovat, mia; Ana Kreč, mia; Anastazija Stejpanović, abs. arh.;Urša Rot, abs. arh.; Landscape architecture: doc. Darja Matjašec, udika
Collaborators: Marko Kavčič, abs. arh.
Award: Increased honorable mention