The new building for the Ludwig-Weber school in the Frankfurt district Sindlingen with its forward-looking design provides a frame that will strengthen and shape the cooperation and partnership between teachers, pupils and parents in a positive and lasting way. The former buildings of the Ludwig-Weber school, which had been founded in 1973, no longer fulfilled the expectations of a democratic style of education, and economically, too, their preservation was no longer viable.
Situated on the western edge of Sindlingen, the school adjoins the Ferdinand-Hofmann estate which was built in the 1920s and 1950s. The freely designed floors of the main building volume with its varied and staggered outlines fit in very naturally with neighboring Paul-Kirchhof square, while at the same time asserting their own striking originality and strength of character. Only the carefully crafted contours of the roofs are actually visible as swinging, planted lines.
In addition to the standard program for teaching facilities of a primary school with two parallel classes, the concept has also made provisions for entry-level classes - the proven and tried schooling model of the federal state of Hesse. A wide range of different learning environments, with open floor plans to promote communication, supports this new educational model and the change from schools as places of teaching to places of learning which is so often discussed today. For this reason no clear boundaries have been drawn between circulation and the useful floor spaces and external areas have been designed as extended “green” classrooms and sheltered areas for the entry-level classes during breaks.
By introducing a note of playfulness to the building through the creation of light-drenched market places and areas designed for lively creativity the architecture reflects the educational principle of the openness of cooperation between students and teachers. Designed as an open house which offers opportunities for multiple cultural uses, features special places and can accommodate different modes of learning, it will be a positive influence on the lives of the pupils, parents and their teachers even after they have left the school.
The functional uses of the ground floor have been inspired by the vision of a building that by its very nature is brimming with life and always accessible. The rooms for the cafeteria, multi-purpose room for pupils requiring learning support and the school administration rooms have all been playfully interspersed into the flowing space surrounding the common center, the new heart of the school. The gym with a single playing field is an integral part of the school. The classrooms for the second to fourth grades are located on the second and third stories and are surrounded by flexible use learning spaces. Attractive open stairs interconnect the different levels of the building, create communicative spaces and aid orientation within the building.
In conjunction with the individually designed open areas the school yard is essentially a landscaped oasis comprising a learning meadow, school garden and an area for football playing. It constitutes the link to the Child Care Center at the Hermann-Küster street in the west and to the private International School Frankfurt in the southwest. Different play functions, designed as islands, have been inserted here. The sheltered areas for the entry-level classes in the north complete the outdoor facilities with their differentiated design.
The materials have been chosen to match the theme of authenticity and but also the respective functional requirements. A wood-aluminum façade, designed as modular façade with opaque wood modules projects the idea of an open learning environment.
Developed for a maximum of comfort, the building concept ensures environmentally-friendly operation of the building. Thanks to the intrinsic thermal and ventilation properties of the building design – often called passive design measures - the building performs with a high degree of reliability in this regard and provides a stable indoor climate conditions, even without technical building services and their characteristically high rate of resource consumption.
Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart
2015, 1st prize