Renewal of School Buildings in the City of Zurich

Zurich, a city with 370,000 inhabitants, has 110 primary and secondary schools. The schools are contemporary witnesses, whose distinctiveness, functional expression and architectural quality bring identity to their surroundings; around half are listed as protected buildings. At the end of the 1990s, both a rising number of pupils and changes in school programmes led to the beginning of a large number of building projects. 26 ‘Zuri-Modular’ mobile school buildings were established in different locations to deal with the most urgent requirements for extra space. In addition, a number of extensions and a small amount of new buildings were planned, with the aim of finishing by 2009. Now, construction activity has turned once again to repairing these buildings. The materials required have been made available by the authorities and around four school buildings a year are currently being repaired or renovated. The changes introduced into everyday school life – team teaching, group work, individualisation of lessons and the general introduction of extracurricular support – have all had their influence on the schools’ construction. Group areas, quiet learning sections and larger classrooms have all been introduced. More room is also now required for lunchtime and after-school support. The pressure to change and renovate, though, is at odds with the basic fabric of the buildings. This means that unusual solutions are being implemented, whether in terms of construction or adjustments to how the schools are run. One particular solution stands out, which aims to achieve savings across the whole portfolio. Instead of using one uniform approach for insulation when carrying out the renovations, priorities are set. While in one location, windows with a good k value, insulated plaster and insulation in the roof and basement have to suffice because of the existing architecture, in others, considerably more effective methods can be implemented. This way the work that is carried out can be assessed against the increase in functionality and the technical repairs needed as well as the specific properties of the building. The renovation work needed each year should reach the savings total.
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