Green roofs cover this sustainable school in Prague

Architecture firm XTOPIX won first prize in an architectural competition for the design of the Komořany Elementary School in Prague. The school uses green roofs, rainwater harvesting and recycled materials to build a unique facility that follows the level of a sloping property in a natural area.

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The engineering for the new school building was handled by AED, with the landscape done by Land05. Landscaping was important in the layout of this school as the building follows a north sloping terrain adjacent to a forest on the edge of Prague. “We perceive the plot as a transition between the forest and the new public infrastructure,” the designers said, “a transition between the wild and the cultivated.” The structure follows the slope of the plot, connecting the floors of the building to the corresponding height levels of the surrounding land and nearby streets.

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An aerial view of a school with a green roof.

“Three volumes with the same footprint are placed on top of each other, cascading down to the forest and thus creating the residential rooftops,” XTOPIX said. “We are placing the school as close as possible to the eastern edge of the plot. To the northwest, we create a recessed entrance corner. In doing so, we define the gathering place under the oak trees for the pupils – a school piazzetta in colored permeable concrete, which allows chalk drawing and children’s games.

A rendering of students entering a school.

On the western edge of the site, the architects have created a green strip with a school garden. Inside the entrance hall on the ground floor, there are different levels of planted spaces. The highest part of the school is closest to the forest and contains classrooms and sports facilities. This area has a separate entrance near a series of green roofs at the top of the school. Even the sports field and the gymnasiums are located on a slope above each other.

A bright school hallway.

The architects used KLP recycled plastic panels for the facade of the building, which is maintenance-free and recyclable. Another construction material is of Czech invention and called Rebeton. It is a recycled concrete that uses construction rubble and nano-mixtures instead of natural aggregates. Another sustainable feature, stormwater management, supports drainage from the sloping property to a nearby stream.

The exterior of a school covered in greenery.

“The landscape is conceptually designed to contrast the natural area around the school and on the rooftops with the urban character of the entrance area,” the designers said. “Komořany is located on the border between the countryside and the city, where the forest is the greatest natural feature of the region… In terms of species, we work with the natural vegetation of oak groves, which represent domestic oaks, hornbeams and the babykas. maple.”


Visualizations by Jan Drška

Berta D. Wells