With a total area of around 7000 sqm and consisting of a volume that resembles a stack of glass cubes, SQUARE is the new highlight in St. Gallen, a city in Eastern Switzerland. The building, designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and fitted out by Zurich-based studio Evolution Design, is the new learning center of University of St. Gallen.
Location: Guisanstrasse 20 9010 St.Gallen Switzerland
Project Size:Total floor area 7’445 sqm
Usable floor area 5’700 sqm
Photos: Peter Wuermli
Client: Foundation of University of St. Gallen
Building Architect: Sou Fujimoto Architects, Tokyo
Furniture Concept and Design of the Cafeteria: Evolution Design, Zurich
Evolution Design project team: Carolin Michalka, Jessica Mentz, Zhiyang Chiu, Patrik Uihlein, Dariusz Florczak, Stuart Dickens
General Contractor: HSG Real Estate, St. Gallen
SQUARE aims to be an innovative place to think and work, where students experience a new quality of learning and get ready for succeeding in the digital age later in their professional careers. The learning and teaching take place through communication, collaboration, interaction and concentration; formats that are very different from the usual university libraries.
In the center of the building is the open forum, which extends over three floors and creates a spatial overview with its impressive room height. This space is used for activities that change daily, ranging from events with the participation of external guests to workshops, masterclasses and courses, and students working in groups on their projects.
In order to accommodate such daily diversity in spatial use, the interior architects developed a toolbox concept – a set of elements like furniture, presentation equipment, a bespoke foldable stage, rugs and plants – all of which can be easily combined to create distinctive layouts and atmospheres within the open space. To increase the spatial versatility, most items – from chairs and stools to whiteboards, tables and plants – are fitted with castor wheels allowing the items to be moved around freely.
The upper floors provide more space for group learning, presentations and events. Without losing the sense of interaction and dialogue, here learning takes place in a calmer atmosphere.