The new primary school in Borrweg is an open wooden structure set in the green countryside between Uetliberg and the lake basin.

The school’s design is inspired by the idea of the beehive, as a metaphor for a friendly school community that is embedded in nature. The arrangement of the building in clusters corresponds to the coexistence of different bee colonies. The interior and exterior spaces are strongly connected to the schools’ green spaces and to the wider countryside area in the lake basin.
An arcade structure accommodates the sports facility and refectory and opens with a generous gesture towards the new school garden. An open green arcade links the new school building with the existing Friesenberg School and serves as an additional covered area for break times – creating a common area for both school buildings. For school events and sports days, the arcade structure can serve as a full-scale festival building.

The school is accessed via external balconies, with a main staircase that is also located outside. The building’s structure is based on the concept of maximum flexibility. All of the main rooms are classroom-sized. No basic distinctions are drawn between classrooms, subject rooms and administration rooms.

The way in which the room clusters are organized for a ‘hive’ resembles a house with a central living room. This is where learning and play take place and the community takes on life. The children are able to identify with their building and feel secure in it. During the summer, the balconies can be used as extensions of the classrooms.


Location: Zürich, Switzerland

Programme: Primary school with 18 classrooms, canteen and daycare infrastructure, double sports hall and school pool

Client: City of Zurich

Net Surface: 11’726 m2


Project Status: Not built