The school designed by X3M is located on the outskirts of the city of Split, in the Žnjan Pazdigrad neighborhood, an area that has been in transition from an agricultural suburbia to a residential quarter during the last 25 years. Due to the lack of public spaces and public programs, the school is not just designed as a place of education but also as a collective space for the entire neighborhood. The project comprises an extensive educational program for 720 pupils: 8 classrooms (1st to 4th grade), 12 subject-teaching classrooms (5th to 8th grade), a multipurpose hall with a stage, a library, a dining area with kitchen, and a larger and a smaller sports hall for physical education that is accompanied by outdoor playgrounds and an athletics field.
Ph. Mario Dedic
In the peripheral surroundings, housing blocks, family houses, small workshops, shopping malls, gardens, and greenhouses peacefully coexist. Yet, the entire area suffers from an extreme shortage of social facilities and communal areas. The new primary school was a long-awaited project. The protests of the residents encouraged its construction and helped to shape a sense of community.
The site, located on a steep and descending terrain, was too small for the required program so a new topography was created to multiply the available surfaces. A series of platforms, one above the other, enable the school areas and sports courts to intertwine with open, multipurpose spaces and ambiances, while the whole spatial structure serves as a generator of indoor and outdoor activities and experiences. Through the design process, the public space area (12.100 m2) became larger than the entire site area (11.600 m2), offering the community a wide array of outdoor collective spaces.
The Classroom spaces and the large sports hall form three volumes, while the other spaces and programs are fluidly interconnected on four levels. The vertical organization facilitates the functional one: the basement serves as a space for indoor sports, the ground floor is a central space of the school with a public, open-access passage separating the school entrance from the sports hall entrance, and the first and second floors are reserved for teaching and studying.
The project exposes the structure: columns, slabs, brise-soleils, and walls simultaneously support the building and act as its façade. Light grey cast concrete dominates the overall appearance. The interior is complemented with polished terrazzo (the basement and ground-floor communication areas and halls), oak wood (flooring in the classrooms and classroom corridors, joinery, inbuilt furniture), and acoustic ceilings. The color accents in an otherwise rather neutral environment include the indoor and outdoor sports hall floorings, coupled with the finishes in the service spaces.
DATE: 2009-2017 / LOCATION: Split, Croatia / AREA: 11.600 m2 (Gross Built Area), 7.830 m² (Usable floor area) / PROGRAM: School / STATUS: Built / DESIGN: x3m (Mirela Bošnjak, Mirko Buvinić, Maja Furlan Zimmermann) / COLLABORATORS: Nikola Đurek (design and typography), Eugen Gojšak, Marija Šarac, Marijan Bračun, Ivan Dolovčak, Damir Leskovšek (structural engineering), Mateo Biluš (building physics and details), Siniša Radić and Atiljo Duplančić (mechanical installations), Milan Bjedov (water supply and drainage), Vojislav Štrbac (electro installations), Branimir Cindori (sprinkler), Ognjen Truta (fire consulting), Alojzije Car and Hrvoje Kostelac (traffic), Teo Cvitanović (BOQ), Marin Blažetić (elevator), Mladen Rumenčić (technical safety), Zoran Divjak (kitchen technology), Branislav Trifunović and Marinko Matuzović (shelter), Ines Hrdalo and Vesna Hrga Martić (landscape) / PHOTOS: Bosnić+Dorotić, Mario Dedić (Drone)