The new Cantonal High School Wil is located on the edge of town, the site of a former gravel pit. Large 1960’s housing blocks and industrial relics surround the site. Originally only a small plaza at the school’s front door was planned as an open space for the 700 teenage students, while the large open space housed a new parking lot. This project considers the social psychology of teenagers in school life, offering a powerful landscape space in which they can unfold in many varied and fluctuating social constellations. Interpreted into a site-specific design, enormous, velvety grass lounging sofas are juxtaposed over a gravel groundplane, referring to the former gravel pit, and a backdrop of oak trees from the adjacent woods. The usual placement of paths on a backdrop of grass has been reversed, offering oversized grass lounge sofas inserted into a gravel plane.
The usual placement of paths on a backdrop of grass has been reversed, offering oversized grass lounge sofas inserted into a gravel plane.
What do teenagers like to do on their breaks? Read, take a nap, smoke or kiss… in large or small groups. The sofas offer a non-committal setting for students to pass by casually in ever-circulating social groups.
The material palette emphasizes the tactile differences between the velvety grass lounge sofas and the rough textures of hornbeams, oaks, gravel.
The lounge sofas create a variety of social settings: two sofas face each other for large groups, a single sofa is staging and a waiting bench at the school entrance. A small sofa for loners or lovers is strewn far to the back.
Landscape Architecture: Robin Winogrond Landscape Architecture. Urban Design.
Design: 2001 – 2004
Location: Wil, Switzerland
Area: 15’000 m2
Client: Kanton St. Gallen
Architects: Staufer Hasler
Photography: Valentin Jeck, Robin Winogrond, Daniela Valentini