DESIGN COMPETITION FOR A MULTI-PURPOSE BUILDING IN GLAND - SWITZERLAND

Description:
In a society where individuality triumphs and the integration with the "unknown" is always in the last place of our priorities, a way to promote the aggregation and sharing of own lives, own history, is the development of environments, of places, of buildings that could encompass various activities of a multicultural society.
A flexible building that can answer to multiple tasks and needs of all those who are inside, is what we mean for "multi-purpose".
The term "multi-generational" opens the deeper concept of integration that must occur regardless of the age of users.
The participation in the design competition for a multi-generational and multi-purpose building in Gland Switzerland has allowed us to deepen the concepts above and to experiment with the design skills developed during university years putting into practice the actual needs and specific correspondences to regulations. The activities described below, provide a summary of the various steps of the design development of a building composed by  a kindergarten, residences for young people, nursing homes and common areas.
An idea of the place, or topos, has always been central to the relationship between man and his environment. The design of a building involves the research of the meaning of place and how it has been changed to a different understanding of the world.
Starting from this consideration, it has been developed a project which highlights the importance of differentiate the identity and the context in which it is located, and give a strong sense of belonging to the main users.
It is needful to mix the study of the relationship it has for the city, for its identity, for the quality of urban space and therefore also for the lives of its inhabitants, so that it is expressed and element of enhancement for urban quality.
The opportunity to have the central site, a site adjacent to the main streets of downtown, gives the opportunity to offer excellence and original features and to be a point of aggregation and socialization for the population, pushing towards a solution based on the essentiality , modernity, sobriety, although in coherence with the shape and balance of the urban construction and surrounding environment.
The functional organization of nursery school, with a surface of 323 square meters, is done by blocks which, although similar in size and shape, in their aggregation generate different configurations because different are the perceptions and the needs to protect children. The blocks interact in a flexible and harmonious way while maintaining autonomy and identification. The three parts are therefore:  the public one, where there is the management and staff room, wardrobe, health services, the kitchen and the canteen. These spaces are grouped together to define a regular rectangular space; adjacent to this, dedicated to children's play, there is another area with regular square shape, within which dug into the floor, we find the "square" of Hertzberger, where children can play controlled from every point of view; the other blocks, which constitute the space for the classrooms, with rectangular plan, break  the linearity of the perimeter of the play corner.
The classrooms are arranged radially and are divided according to the activities and services the children need according to their age, for this reason we find a classroom for children between the ages of 0-6 months, another for those of 0-18 and another for the age group of 18-36 months. They are organized with are small beds, changing tables, and toys for all children between the ages of 0-36 months.
They have a fixed structure of basic furniture and the rest is movable to configure them as neutral and dynamic scenarios, which allow educators and children to change the environment to suit their needs. The transparency of the glass, made of transparent plates, makes the spatial boundaries fluids in order to define the various environments without separating them visually and to strengthen relationships between children of different classes and between the inside and the outside. The rest of the structure is made by colored reinforced concrete like the ground floor of the r adjacent residences. The perception of the kindergarten from the outside is that of a structure composed of two blocks, the parallelepiped where there are services and children's play area, and the classrooms that thanks to the windows are distinguished but at the same time penetrate into the structure. The aerodynamic roof of the classrooms contributes and reinforces this perception as it seems to envelop and drag parts of the building inside the classrooms. The openings on and the skin of the building interact with those of the base section of the residential building both for the colored reinforced concrete structure and for the rectangular openings arranged horizontally, positioned at two different heights, one accessible to children shall not exceed 75 cm and on of1.70 m in height for adults. Colors invade exterior and interior walls, floors and ceilings. So with regard to the kindergarten the child is immersed in a special universe where the yellow ,the dominant color, reflects the sun. The other two colors are for the elements of each environment, the light blue for the toilets of the children, the pink for the wardrobe.
The separation of functions, such as the kindergarten and the residential facility, generates a measured architectural variety, which animates and articulates the entire project.
Though both volumes are perceptually bound in a clear unity, the architectural choices of the facade, the windows and the use of coating materials differentiate them and emphasize a degree of autonomy.
The low body accommodates public services, such as meeting room, a small kitchen, medical room and entrance with staircase, lift and concierge. Covered in colored reinforced concrete delegates the movement and the design of facades to few horizontal glazed openings,. The wooden doors and windows remember in materials and colors the residential body of the upper floors.
A close and continuous sequence of vertical wooden baffles, which are repeated according to a free serial, surrounds the four sides of the building, embracing the tall and narrow windows, which almost disappear behind the movement of the vertical tense.
The wide articulation of this texture animates the geometric simplicity of the building, which becomes capable of interacting with renewed quality both with the rhythms of the main road, and with the quiet agricultural landscapes in which it is inserted.
According to the angle of sight, the building is perceived now as a continuous wood- colored block, now revealing bands of windows between the septum and septum.
The simple and well-measured architectural choices draw a building able to calibrate a simple and sober design to the needs of visibility and symbolic quality required by its function.