The St. Gilgen International School offers a novel perspective on education by immersing students in a unique setting, the typically Austrian village of St. Gilgen, and helping them shape their minds and personalities through repeated interaction with this pristine environment, as well as the thriving community it fosters.
Much like St. Gilgen, the School, and St. Gilgen, the village, are immersive experiences, we at wollzelle wanted the institution’s website to draw the visitor in a unique, interactive, self-paced adventure. Building upon powerful cutting-edge technologies like Flash 10 (including the new 3D API) and HTML 5, the site allows the visitor to experience for himself the sights and sounds of this jewel of the Wolfgangsee. At St. Gilgen, the school is the village, and the village is the school.
The project takes roots in the output of photographers, painters and writers whose works were instrumental in crafting the school’s original vision. We set up a fluid creative process, around a dialogue between the school’s founder, a renowned architect by day, and wollzelle’s creative think-tank. Throughout our brainstorming sessions, we defined the ideal visitor experience, and balanced our client’s dream with our own views on design and interactivity.
The result of this unique process has little to do with your average business web site. Instead, we like to think of it as an art project, an experience, a true reflection of what we felt during our own stays at St. Gilgen, of the school’s latent and patent views on education. Much like the school allows students to develop and expand their minds over time, the site evolves and progressively deepens, the longer the visitor explores it.
Creating a truly immersive experience requires skilful blending of images and sound, which we achieved in two complementary ways. Throughout the web site, context-appropriate sound effects, taken live at St. Gilgen, allow the visitor to associate a sound, a feeling, with the environment they find themselves in. For example, the visit of the school is accompanied by sound-bites taken from classrooms or the school’s central plaza. Of course, we have taken image and sound all the way to video as well, by filming a special school tour, headed by the webmaster himself. This sequence walks prospective parents and students throughout the school, as well as throughout the school’s philosophy and values.
Unlike many educational institutions, St. Gilgen opened its doors wide, allowing us to delve deep into its history, interview current students and highlight the many little architectural details that give the place its soul. Indeed, History is also a key part of the school’s personality. Did you know, for example, that the administration building once was the summer residence of Marie Ebner-Eschenbach?
Visitors in a hurry can access a convenient PDF page, from which all documentation, forms and, generally speaking, printed matter related to the school, can be downloaded in a single click. This synoptic view gives immediate access to application procedures, learning processes, teacher bios and more, thereby replacing the need to refer to a bulky paper brochure.
Music is part of the site’s quintessential experience. The theme song, typical of the salzkammergut, was composed by local musician Hubert von Goisern.
The St. Gilgen International School web site was a challenge to imagine and create. We hope you find it as enjoyable to visit as we did the school itself, and, as always, are looking forwards to hearing your thoughts.