Never demolish – as found
The proposal by EM2N for the complete renovation of St.Gallen Centre of Vocational Education and Training (GBS) was awarded third prize and was purchased. The guiding principle behind the design, ‘not building is the most sustainable approach, new-build was yesterday’, is very much a sign of the times. Entered under the code name ANNA, the project affirms the historical and structural value of the complex that dates from the 1970s and pursues a consistent strategy of continuing the existing building. Making the most minimal interventions and an extremely small footprint, by doubling the main wing (AN+NA) the existing organisational principle is retained and a simple ‘space shelf’ is made by means of a column and slab loadbearing structure. The large contiguous floor areas created offer maximum flexibility and facilitate a wide variety of spatial types and ways of teaching. The extension is characterised by the minimised use of CO₂-optimised reinforced concrete, wide use of wood, and the reuse of existing building components.