LOCATION Fagnano Olona, Varese, Italy
YEAR 1977
THEME Architecture, Education spaces, Elementary school
STATUS Competition
DESIGNERS Antonio Monestiroli, Paolo Rizzatto
TEAM  Paolo Colombo

The elementary school is a simple organism, lacking specialized equipment, which is divided into three distinct places proper to the school cycle: the regular classroom, the interschool classroom and the common room where various collective activities take place. The main problem in the typological definition process has been to establish a hierarchy of these places such that the identity of the whole organism is succinctly indicated. The process was long and complex; we returned to this project several times, even after some time apart, and came up with different solutions to the same problem: how to establish the relationship between a large central hall open to the green and the study rooms, while maintaining the architectural unity of the building.

The resulting pattern is usual in buildings of this kind (the H pattern); in the center is placed the common room and on the wings on the first and second floors are the regular classrooms and the interlocking classrooms communicating with each other through an internal staircase. Special classrooms, service and administrative activities are located on the ground floor. All the building bodies have a double facing to the north and south, but the classrooms have a privileged facing, through a large glass window, to the space inside the two arms of the H so as to ensure a certain isolation of the activities taking place there. The common room faces directly outside onto the green space and through two side windows onto the facing space of the classrooms. In this way from the common room it is possible to establish a relationship with the surrounding greenery and have a unified view of the whole school. The distinction of the parts, in the long, intentionally unified front, was entrusted to the difference in the ratio of full and empty space and the construction of four towers (three elevator towers and a chimney) placed to further emphasize the division of the interior spaces. The building is constructed of exposed brick; the towers are made of reinforced concrete painted white.


Massimo Ferrari (edit by) Antonio Monestiroli Opere, progetti e studi di architettura Electa Milan 2001

Francesco Moschini (edit by) Antonio Monestiroli Progetti 1967-1987  Edizioni Kappa Rome 1988