It should, in other words, be a place that has a special quality, beginning with its exterior, with its siting and its integration into the landscape and the town. It should neither make a pompous show of contrast, nor it ingratiate itself by wanting to look like the buildings in the immediate vicinity. New buildings should be such that they enhance the qualities of their surroundings. School buildings have great importance in this regard, because with them, the public sector – the state or municipality – shows how their contribution to our building culture is meant to be. Thus, they are already part of a public educational offering. What’s more, the architecture of educational institutions allows us to discern the value our society attaches to the young generation.
With this in mind, the design of school buildings is one of the noblest and most enjoyable of building tasks.
But how can the place itself be enhanced when the given site is surrounded by such entirely different sides – as in the case of the new secondary school for Buchloe? On the east side is an indoor skating rink, whose unassuming architecture does not serve as a model. To the north are the adjoining buildings of the existing school complex, whereas to the west, a beautiful meadow extends to the banks of the Gennach. An expansive green space stretches toward the south, too, but it ends at the wall on the edge of a noisy autobahn.
The design of the elongated building enables us to react to the differing conditions. Coming from town, the school building presents its entire length to the onlooker, forming a termination of the meadow to the west and thus concealing the aesthetically problematic neighbour to the east. To the north, the building with its open courtyard links up to the adjacent school complex. We respond to the noise of the autobahn in the south with the volumetric form of the multipurpose gymnasium, which is, as it were, embraced on its other three sides by the teaching spaces and administrative offices of the school. To understand the overall plan shape, simply imagine an H, whose lower half is filled in. The right and left arms of the H are primarily filled with classrooms, while the auditorium and entrance hall constitute the horizontal, connecting line of the letter. This hence forms the heart of the ensemble and is connected on both sides to the approaches and connecting paths. The large transverse skylight not only brings ample daylight into the hall but is also visible from afar as a sign marking the centre of the complex. To both sides of the hall are the facilities of a more public nature: the cafeteria with access to the inner courtyard on one side and the stage for performances on the other.
The layout of the classroom wings corresponds by and large to the classic spatial and organizational scheme of school buildings. The corridor partition walls are a unique feature, made of precast elements that are shaped in such a way so as to form wall niches that can be used as seating alcoves, for hanging up coats, or for built-in storage. The south-eastern wing houses the library and rooms for the administration.
The outward appearance of the building pays deference to the use of traditional materials that are commonly used locally: coarsely stuccoed masonry facades at the main entrances to the main hall and wood cladding on the classroom wings. The wooden weather boarding has a dark stained finish that makes a nice contrast to the white window frames and window reveals. To protect the wood walls, the roof projects far beyond them, and its underside is also painted white. We wanted to give the school a guise that is at first familiar, but nevertheless unmistakably presents itself as a new building.
The building not only meets the Passive House standard, but has also been conceived with due consideration to the life cycle of its construction and fit-out. The building materials are, as much as possible, of natural materials that are robust and repairable.
The architecture of a school is only good if, at the end of the day, the students and teachers look forward to being there again the next morning. And also, when they are much older, the former students look back fondly on the place where they spent their youthful prime years of learning. It should, in other words, be a place that has a special quality, beginning with its exterior, with its siting and its integration into the landscape and the town. It should neither make a pompous show of...
- Year 2013
- Work started in 2012
- Work finished in 2013
- Client Landkreis Ostallgäu, represented by Landratsamt Ostallgäu, Marktoberdorf
- Contractor Georg Reisch GmbH & Co. KG, Bad Saulgau
- Status Completed works
- Type Schools/Institutes / Sports Facilities