Bundesrealgymnasium in der Au, Innsbruck, Austria
Exemplary design categories: art and design facilities, community use and involvement, energy efficiency, flexible learning settings, green school, library/media/resource centre, outdoor spaces, school/community regenerationHow the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The design of the school was informed by the requirements set out by the education authority and the visions and values of its head teacher and her team.
The city council of Innsbruck, the owner of the building, chose the location with the specific purpose of upgrading a formerly poorly developed part of the city. Since the opening of the school in 2011, a number of upscale housing projects have been completed and the intended purpose of the council’s department of city planning has been achieved. The shopping centre that occupies the lower levels of the school building provides the community with basic services such as food stores, a post office and a bank. The building also hosts an adult education centre offering a wide range of academic and recreational courses, including German courses for migrants. In addition, the department’s planning included the development of the area’s public transport system, with a new tramline now connecting the station, the city centre, the school and – within the next few years – the area beyond.
Shaped like an E and spread over three levels with a wide range of outdoor spaces, 3000m2 on the topmost level is used as a park with a small vegetable garden, a sports ground and sheltered studying. In accordance with the school’s core principle of personalised learning there are areas designed for individual and independent learning in different-sized groups throughout the building. Communal spaces like the school library, positioned at the very centre of the school, and the generous amount of space in front of it are also used for class-sized and individual activities or, in the latter case, whole-school activities.
Classrooms have glass doors that open onto wide corridors and, in some cases, onto patios as well. Both serve as extensions to the classrooms as chairs and tables are light and easy to move. Both corridors and patios are used for after-school programmes and activities, indoor sports and play.
All subjects are taught in designated clusters which allow for teachers to cooperate, share and maximise synergies and, consequently, for students to gain the maximum benefit from their learning environment.
In order to boost performance levels, carbon dioxide and temperature levels are monitored and the school canteen offers healthy, partly locally produced food. Both the building and the canteen have been awarded prizes. The school was awarded a Green Building certificate by the European Union.
Involvement of users and the local community in the planning and design process:
The school is a Public Private Partnership Project, a unique concept in Austria. The planning and design team consisted of the department of city planning, the architect, the Board of Education, the Ministry of education and the school leadership.
Activity Areas: 32 classrooms; extremely wide corridors and patios used as classroom extensions and for recreation purposes; computer labs; sports facilities (three gyms that can be joined); a climbing wall and a sports ground on the roof; designated areas for all subject clusters (arts, sciences, humanities, foreign languages); a multi-purpose hall used for performances, conferences, concerts, celebrations etc.; centrally positioned community spaces like the school library, the canteen and an open space assembly-hall
Project costs: EUR 24,000,000.00
Source: Submitted in October 2014