Architect : michelpetitarchitecte, Luxembourg - Burkard Meyer Architekten, Baden Suisse
Civil engineer : Simon & Christiansen, Capellen, Luxembourg
Technical engineer : Basler + Partner, Zurich, Switzerland
This new lower school complex of International School of Luxembourg is designed to successfully meet the goal of educating children within a multilingual, multicultural school community and society.
The proposed complex is organised around a glazed courtyard as orientation point and space for collective activities: fostering a sense of shared place, of community, and hence through identification with the school, of responsible behaviour.
Sustainable design standards for the complex are embodied firstly in an ultra-compact building form, well integrated into the sloping site to minimise its environmental impact; and secondly by complying with ‘low energy’ conservation standards to minimise in use energy consumption.
The steep slope of the site determines the vertical stratification of the complex and is clearly expressed in its north south cross section: with, on the lowest level - gymnasium, kitchen, underground parking and vehicular access, on the piano nobile - public spaces and main schoolyard, and on the upper floors -classrooms.
On the first floor the ‘early years’ section, facing the Conservatoire to the north of the site, is on a level with the landscaped garden for ease of access by the children from the classrooms to their playground.
At one end of the ‘school mile’ running along the Hollerich boulevard the building makes a firm and unique statement as the head of the row of schools. The configuration of the site and the requirements of an energy efficient building have lead us to design a compact building form organised around a glazed atrium.
The base of the building, fronting the boulevard to the south, is set back from the main road and is organized around the arrival and departure of pupils. This public area gives access to the schoolyard, the gymnasium, the kitchen and underground staff parking. It is designed for safe pedestrian walking and has separated lines of access for buses, car deliveries and pick-ups or deliveries. Passing the main gate a wide flight of stairs leads up from there to the main schoolyard, which gives pedestrian access to the new school building. At the back of the yard the existing block of Portacabins will be reused by the new lower school administration.
From the south-west to the north-east corner the building is edged by landscaped gardens. The garden facing the Conservatoire to the north of the site is level with ‘early years’ for ease of access. For parents who deliver and collect small children to the ‘early years’, there is a traffic-free car park near Charles Martel street.
The project achieves an eco-efficient design, with significant savings on running costs as well as reduced impact on the environment. It provides the best possible internal environmental conditions with the least possible use of carbon-emitting energy, both in the fabric of the building and in its services. It has been conceived to conform to environmental guidelines for sustainability, and with the goal of obtaining ‘low energy’ consumption rating.