Estavannens Schoolyard

The landscape project of the enlarged school aims to best integrate the new building into the existing topography while also affirming the volumetric presence of the historic building. The new, modulated topography instigates passage, play and discovery. The entry courtyard is marked with a solid wood trunk and bike shelter and welcomes teachers and students to enter, pause and pass along to the school’s new balcony. At the end of this sequence is a green theater knitting the building and topography into place and allowing for the « perfect » location for a slide. The schoolyard heart is open and multi-functional. Along the edges are a few trunks to climb on and native groves of trees to increase biodiversity, provide shade and spatial enclosure. A new picnic table anchors the public garden under an orchard along the west of the historic school. Connecting the two buildings as well as the upper and lower courtyards is a long-sloping staircase acknowledging this precious relationship between old and new. A white line threads the landscapes together, refers to the movement of cows from upper to lower pastures and hopes to be treated in a game-like manner. Roofwater is managed by a extensive cover of prairie and other site run-off water is retained in an underground box-system.


Place: Estavannens, FR, Switzerland

Landscape architect: VWA 

Architect: RB.CH

Client: Town of Estavannens

Program: Landscape and play spaces for a primary school

Area: 2200 m²

Project: 2010-11

Construction: 2012

Cost: 320’000 CHF

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