Research & Education

New International School of Berne, Gümligen

South of the Siloah site in Gümligen, the new building for the International School of Berne brings together all of the school's age groups under one roof – from the playgroup, through to the final year of secondary school. A double gymnasium with an adjacent soccer pitch and nuanced outdoor spaces supplement what the school has to offer at its new location. 

The concept of arranging all rooms on a single level arose from clear specifications regarding organizational, pedagogic, economic and heightened security aspects. The approximately 400 pupils can thus get outdoors directly from any classroom in an emergency. 

The school building is around 50 m wide and 140 m long. A hybrid construction with prefabricated wooden and concrete elements was considered advantageous because of ecological aspects, as well as the short construction period that it entailed. These elements were assembled on an end-to-end concrete base, which simultaneously connects the gymnasium and schoolhouse building sections via a spacious quadrangle. In the floor plan, the school is divided into two main wings, with collectively used areas, such as the assembly hall and the media center, positioned between them, as is the spacious interior courtyard. 

The selected materials are deliberately kept low-key – few elements are combined: the end-to-end concrete base slab appears in the corridors and communal areas, polished and sealed, whereas red linoleum was laid in the classrooms, all of which are directly connected to the green outdoor space. Concrete walls contrast with soap-treated 3-layer spruce boards. The facade also plays with contrasts: in the sheltered arcades, the dark, oiled, rough-cut horizontal formwork is, in turn, met by the light, soap-treated 3-layer board. 

Schweizerische Mobiliar Asset Management AG, Bern

Frutiger AG, Thun

Period of time
2012  –  2017

Architecture, General planning

Hansueli Schärer