1106 san giorgio school

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The design metaphor used for the San Giorgio kindergarten in Brunico is inspired by a small village surrounded by a transparent ring that allows the view of their surroundings. In plan, we can recognize a primary shape, a circle, representing the cycle of life which constitutes the connective tissue of the building with ramps and areas that helps distribute the school functions. The “circle” is a primordial figure, which refers to the fundamental human relationship with the self and with the surrounding environment. Before of being “object of thought” and imaginary representation, the circularity alleges to the sphere of human action, to our body since childhood. This circle encloses, in turn, a collection of shapes with a square base, the school-houses, which constitutes the teaching environments, recognizable by the children through the use of specific colors of the interior walls.

Architecture and Materials

The new school fits into the context merging perfectly with the traditional architectures typical in the area. The classroom volumes with their sloping roofs appear to be transported from the nearby village, flowing together inside the glass ring that de-materializing offers a glimpse into the internal functions. The heart of the school consists of a courtyard dedicated to kindergartners whose focal point is a big tree. The Courtyard for pre-school children instead, is separated and in direct connection with their spaces. While the ring is composed of transparent glass that minimizes its visual impact, the volumes are made of a light dolomite stone skin cut and placed according to a grid pattern. The typical color pink-yellow of the stone fosters the reflection of the sunlight making it penetrate through the courtyards and through the large openings framed by fir wood slats.

Strategies for the Environment

1. Daylight: the arrangement of functions is designed in such a way that optimizes natural light exposure during the hours of use of the spaces. The presence of skylights provides light in vertical connections while the perimeter transparent wall allows access of natural light in areas that constitutes the primary circulation, avoiding the constant use of artificial light.
2. Photovoltaic + Geothermal Heat Pump. These systems use solar radiation power to compensate for thermal extraction with heat pump being a source of energy during periods of high load. They can store energy in the soil during the summer months, when heating loads are minimal recovering it during the winter months. The photovoltaic system can be integrated in the roof. The use of natural ventilation is eased by the presence of the courtyards, while the floor radiant heating is more efficient to heat spaces with the pipes embedded in the prefabricated concrete slab. 3. Rainwater from roofs is collected and stored in an underground tank which makes it usable for sanitary use and-after treatment-for hot water and drinking.


The garden of the new school is sealed with a wood surface that ensures the safety of children. The green area around the school is divided into the programmatic areas, each one for a specific education group, with semi-permeable pavement that alternates with grass. Other areas are equipped with mounds of sand and running paths for physical outdoor activities.

Location: Brunico (BZ), Italy
Area: 3,970m2 / 42,733 sf
Status: Competition, 2016
Team: Alessandro Orsini, Nick Roseboro, Roberto De Luca, Jianwei Li