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BRETFIELD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Extension to an early-twentieth century school in Bern, Switzerland

Design team: Ana Rolim and Christoph Wagner 

Our entry for an elementary school in Switzerland reimagines and revitalizes existing structures to enhance day care, educational, sports, and social spaces.


Key design elements include enclosing the corner void of the current city block, seamlessly integrating the new extension with the existing courtyard, honoring the school's iconic gabled roof by placing the new gymnasium on the top floor, and contrary to the competition's brief, renovating the existing 1897 brick building owned by the school.


The school's entrance is relocated to the south, with the new wing elevated on columns to create an open ground floor housing a community room. Students are guided towards the historic courtyard, where they can ascend to classrooms via open stairs or access ground-floor day care facilities in the northwest direction. This design fosters connectivity between old and new while optimizing spatial flow for students and visitors alike.

Overall view of physical model

Site overview highlighting new school extension

View from South corner

The building components

1st floor with daycare, office and community space

Aerial view from South corner towards existing school building

South elevation

2nd floor plan with new classrooms, faculty spaces and library

Learning landscape on 2nd floor

3rd floor plan with new sport court and support spaces, such as locker rooms, restrooms, gym and medical office.

Section BB (South-North direction)

Aerial view from West elevation with existing school building in the background

Secion AA (West-East direction)

North elevation

Facade and section detail

Aerial view from Northwest corner

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