Hapalova Autistic School
We have equipped
A school like no other: for autistic people only
We have designed several schools. But this project forced us to leave established practices behind and think more “out of the box”. A great experience, thanks for it!
Our task was to design a modernisation of a school in Brno-Rečkovice for children with a disorder on the autism spectrum. The Hapalova Primary School is the only one of its kind in the Czech Republic, focusing exclusively on autistic children. Classes here do not start with a bell, pupils do not work with traditional textbooks. There are a lot of things that are non-standard: and we had to deal with all that.
Specific learning needs require a specifically-adapted environment. We had a clear idea of what such an environment should look like by working closely with the school management and their teachers. Dozens of hours of consultations were held, hectolitres of coffee were brewed, the building control authority had to grant lots of exceptions.
Originally, we wanted to use the existing building complex on the property. However, this proved unrealistic during the design process. So the unsuitable buildings were demolished and only the oldest building on Hapalova ulice, originally used as a secondary school, remained. For capacity reasons, the pitched roof was removed and the building was extended by a setback storey. New wings were built on the footprint of the demolished buildings. The building is therefore largely a new construction.
The H‑shaped floor plan naturally divides the building into kindergarten and primary school parts. This creates a protected entrance courtyard, where a tree and a small playground on the other side will be added in the future.
As for the materials used, we chose smooth white plaster in combination with sand-coloured rippled plaster used in the strips between the windows.
The entire school complex has three above-ground floors. The building houses a special education centre, 3 kindergarten classes and 9 primary school classes with an after-school club.
Part of the kindergarten is connected to a terrace with a pergola and an elongated garden that will allow for outdoor activities. Children can enjoy not only a playground with climbing frames, but also an orchard, fireplace or vegetable beds.