Vienna is growing, and as the population grows, so does the need for public infrastructure, especially in the area of education, where the expansion of all-day schooling in numerous locations requires corresponding investments. There is thus a "PFlichtschulERneuerungsDruck" (pressure to redevelop compulsory schools), which has prompted the City of Vienna to create the so-called "PFERD" construction and investment programme, in the course of which existing educational facilities in particular are being expanded. Whereas it was previously common practice to satisfy acute schoolroom requirements by means of adapted steel containers, the focus is now placed on THE renewable raw material: wood. It not only allows for quick and clean construction, but also scores with an excellent ecological balance and a healthy indoor climate.

In 2015, our office implemented six projects within the framework of this programme - five extensions and a completely new school building. They were all completed simultaneously in the extremely short construction period from April to August, a record time that requires a high degree of planning accuracy and does not allow for any mistakes.  Thanks to the solid timber construction of cross-laminated timber elements (CLT), which is associated with a minimum of dirt and noise, the extensions could be realised during ongoing school activities. The two to five-storey extensions were each connected to the existing buildings without barriers, by either new staircases, connecting corridors or ramps.
The very different locations and functional requirements each called for customised concepts and specific consideration of the existing buildings. Among the extended schools, for example, is the only building realized by Lois Welzenbacher in Vienna, namely the post-war Neue Mittelschule in Afritschgasse. The new wing, that comprises ten classrooms and group rooms, perfectly harmonizes and aligns with the proportions of the listed building - with connections to the existing building reduced to the minimum necessary. The new gym is connected underground to the existing school and rises only slightly above ground level.

The new building of the nine-class all-day elementary school in Engerthstraße 134 disposes of a gymnastics hall as well as an outdoor sports area on the roof and is connected to the neighbouring school in Vorgartenstraße by a covered passageway, thus enabling the use of the sports facilities by both schools.