An interplay between inside, outside and varying elevations creates a malleable school by Hertzberger
The combination of a primary school with a middle school in a suburb of Rome, the plan consists of a repetition of architectural units, each of which comprises two times four classrooms adjoining a connecting street. Each unit is arranged around a patio, echoing the design of a traditional Roman house, which, thanks to the mild Italian climate, serves for most of the year as an additional outdoor space that can be used for teaching. It is with this purpose in mind that the 2m-wide awnings were added. Extensions may be added in future by building one or more new units around a patio.
The building stands − like an excavated site − almost an entire storey below the surrounding ground, and is accessed from the two flanking residential quarters through a central square, which is also sunk into the ground and surrounded by steps for sitting on. The building reflects the architect’s experience in creating highly efficient school structures in the Netherlands, applied here to a different climate and culture.
Combining a robust spatial infrastructure with carefully designed ‘micro-environments’, the building offers flexibility for future expansion and adaptation. While being conventional at the moment, the classrooms can easily be transformed into a cluster structure. The core of the building is located slightly off-centre on the main axis, combining the dining hall with an auditorium-like atrium that connects the two levels of the building.
I Mosaici, Herman Hertzberger, Autonome Forme and Marco Scarpinato
2010: 4,900 m2