Exhaustive Microcosm

project Federal School Aspern, Vienna, Austria
architectural office Fasch&Fuchs.Architekten
written by Vera Grimmer


What can architecture do today? Can it be an active participant in the process of the development and welfare of society? Let us try to respond affirmatively: it could, provided that architectural works were, as defined by Juhani Pallasmaa: complete microcosms… comprised poetic displays of the alive – human world; lived, existential metaphors that direct and articulate human perception, consciousness and feelings.  


With their grammar school project in the new Viennese neighbourhood Seestadt Aspern, Hemma Fasch and Jakob Fuchs wanted and, we have to say, succeeded in creating such a complete microcosm. If we accept the thesis that space is the third teacher, next to teachers and classmates,  the architecture of school buildings is crucial in the process of influencing the development of society. One of the reasons for the success of the Aspern School lies in the competition requirements for creating space for work and studying that allows individual treatment; work in groups of different sizes, self-organized and open learning process and project teaching. Architects met these requirements by exercising a whole spectrum of their skills, which include their response to the position of the school within the new city neighbourhood, construction, façade envelopes, lighting direction, application of colour and, above all, complex spatial structure within a mildly sloped terraced green landscape