This concrete oasis in the Swiss border town of Kreuzlingen (Germany and Lake Constance are a stone’s throw away) is best visited on a hot summer’s day, when the architecture dissolves into dazzling abstractions on the surface of the central pool, while harsh shadows add geometric edge and drama to the three large yet minimalist school units. They are arranged around the main piazza, which provides an empty, open stage for student life. The earthy adobe tones of the structure are reminiscent of fortified cities in North Africa, while the street lamps and two fountains reference the era’s fashion for pop art and space age design.
To achieve the distinctive look, the architects developed a bespoke type of clay-pigmented concrete and used a bush-hammered finish. The exterior theme is continued inside, where material restraint and russet tones lend a slight air of a reformed church hall, while fixtures in bold orange add a youthful, futuristic spirit. Widely regarded as one of the most important brutalist educational buildings in Switzerland, the extension of PMS Kreuzlingen inspired many similar designs in the 1970s. A recent responsible refurbishment ensures the college remains at the top of its class.