Gion A. Caminada
A trip to Duvin is rare even amongst the most dedicated admirers of architecture. Regrettably, for the solid timber construction of the school, which won Gion Caminada several architecture awards – strongly contrasts with his other “Strickbau” designs. He demonstrates here that “Strickbau” blockhouse constructions are unjustly considered old-fashioned; here is irrefutable evidence that they are perfectly able to make contemporary statements of architecture style. Gion Caminada executed the design for the school after winning an architectural competition. By “Strickbau” standards the school has unusually large windows and – as is quite evident from its large unbroken areas of façade – can hardly have been built in the same way as one of its more traditional local predecessors.
The building stands on the margins of Duvin, very close to the village fountain, the church, its adjoining cemetery and the post-office, the latter housed in a half-timbered building of a sort only rarely found in this region. The ground plan and elevation of Caminada’s school design are literally “straight” which is to say reduced to essentials. Indeed, this spatial conception is in keeping with the typical “Strickbau” construction style. Yet in comparison to Caminada’s later designs for solid timber structures it is evident here that a reductive architectural approach is not to be equated with Minimalism as construed in artistic practice.