2020 GFD 🏆 Awards

Winner: American International School of Zagreb by Flansburgh Architects

This new high-performance k-12 International School unites a personalized learning environment with Bundek Park, an iconic park in the heart of Zagreb. Multiple courtyards, green roofs, and community space form the heart of the school. The school has achieved the highest level of sustainability for any building in Croatia. The simple, orthogonal plan weaves outdoor and indoor spaces to engage students with the outdoors, promote wellness, and foster an atmosphere where success is achieved through interdependence.

Winner- Global Future Design Awards 2020
Firm | Flansburgh Architects
Architect/Designer | David Croteau
Category | Educational Built – School
Team | David Croteau
Country | United States
Photographer/Copyright | ©Robert Benson and Miljenko Bernfest

©Robert Benson and Miljenko Bernfest

Our intention was to create a shared environment that meets the development-specific needs of students and parents of all ages single building grades k-12. The community aimed to create an aspirational and welcoming space where both foreign dignitaries (the school hosts embassy functions) and young elementary students can feel that its right for them. We took advantage of the site’s location across from Bundek Park and minimized impact on the environment with a highly sustainable, net-Zero building. While still being opening and welcoming to the community we installed high security technology. There is a minimalist modernist aesthetic in keeping with the mid modern vibe of Novi Zagreb.

The essentials of a 21st Century school are clear, lots of natural light, access to the outdoors and flexible spaces that can be used by individuals, and groups of different sizes.  Specific program requirements include, Student Learning Spaces including classrooms, science labs, resource rooms; administrative and staff spaces including offices, reception, conference spaces, faculty meeting spaces; community and stakeholder spaces including lobby, community room, and kitchen; media center and commons including library, dining commons, and media technology; fitness and wellness spaces including gymnasium, changing facilities, coaches offices, dance, and outdoor spaces including soccer field, running track, tennis courts, and playgrounds; performance and visual art spaces including music rooms, art studios, and black box theatre; and facility and management spaces including mechanical rooms and custodial spaces. The building responds with a strong minimalist, orthogonal architecture that is deliberately respectful of the grid organization of blocks of flats and towers that dominate Novi Zagreb.

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of a building determines its energy class, based on its annual energy performance. The school has an A+ EPC (most efficient), making it one of the most energy efficient schools in the EU. The consumption needs for heating, cooling and ventilation are satisfied by a rooftop solar power plant which produces 120,000 KW/hour, making the school a net ZERO Building. The green roof provides additional thermal insulation, retains rainwater, connects with its green surroundings and celebrates the school’s commitment to eco-friendly design. Heating and cooling are accomplished through highly efficient geothermal water to water heat pumps that exchange heat with underground water through on-site extraction/absorption wells at a flow of 19 litres/second. The mechanical and lighting systems are controlled through the CNUS program (Central Energy Management System) to maintain system efficiencies while a regenerative heat recovery system secures 100% fresh air injection within the school while minimizing heat loss. The concrete structure reduces embodied energy and the environmental considerations shape the building’s orientation, form and fenestration. Courtyards, views to the park, and a green roof emphasize our connection to the natural environment and students’ responsibility for conserving it.