Herzog & de Meuron reimagines the middle school

In Pictures:

flood-proof design

Herzog & de Meuron has unveiled the designs for a middle school in Switzerland located on the roof of a shopping centre. We look at how the project is bringing fresh ideas to densification.​​​​​​​


2011, the annual NBS BIM Report recorded BIM adoption at just 13%, with 43% unaware of the technology’s potential. Today, based on a survey of more than 1,000 industry professionals, some 73% of firms are now using BIM, while just 1% are unsure of what it offers.

While BIM has helped to improve communication and collaboration between stakeholders, there is still room for improvement. According to a recent survey conducted by the Institute of Civil Engineers and ALLPLAN, organisations face a variety of issues when using BIM, including unexpected design changes (55%), exchanging information between parties (45%), and incompatible software (43%).

These problems are, in part, caused by the wide range of software available – according to Newforma’s The State of Technology: AEC Firms report, there are seven BIM applications frequently used across thearchitecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, and many more niche tools. While an architectural firm involved in a project may work in Revit, the structural engineer may prefer to use Tekla, and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineers may use Navisworks, which causes issues to arise when sharing files.

Credit (all images): Herzog & de Meuron

Set to be built in Basel-Stadt, Switzerland, Herzog & de Meuron’s design for this middle school sees it placed on the roof of a shopping centre.

Part of a wider transformation of the Dreispitz Nord area, it is intended to form a model for future densification projects that blend social and commercial uses.

The school, which is accessed via a sloped, landscaped walkway at one corner of the site, will provide education capacity for 600 students.

The site will also house a multipurpose gymnasium and outdoor areas, which will be available to the public.

The wider masterplan will include 800 apartments, a neighbourhood meting place, two green spaces and a selection of cafes and restaurants.