The rough with the smooth...

Thursday 16 Feb 2012

A modern approach of protecting architecture while opening up to the historic centre of Innsbruck

This extension to a secondary school that was too small meet the demands of afternoon care is anything but the kind of architecture that attempts to ingratiate itself with its surroundings. On its short side the slender new building, which extends to the street, is connected at almost right angles with the monastery building by small bridges, while on the right it docks onto the gym hall with a fragile glass construction.

By elevating the ground floor of the building Fügenschuh created a new, partly sheltered small outdoor space or school yard which with its paving makes a highly urban impression. It suggests a variety of possible uses, and is ideal for semi-public events, for instance. The building is made of concrete. Its surface is divided into clear geometric segments that are differently treated. Some parts are polished, others rough, others have been left smooth the way they emerged from the formwork.

It is the extravagantly positioned openings that the particular charm of the new school in Rattenberg. In the narrow facade onto the street a single large square window, opulently surrounded in copper, is incised flush with the wall, as a kind of representative 'display window'. In contrast the windows on the long facades are far smaller and, as they are fitted to the inner face of the reveals, appear like dark holes.

Through their placing and size they relate to the surroundings in a sophisticated way, the same applies to the suggestion of a gable with which the flat roof docks on the monastery building; or the use of copper, a material widely used in the old town of Rattenberg.


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