St. Benno Secondary School

Dresden, Germany

In the early 1990s the Bishopric of Dresden-Meissen succeeded in obtaining a site in the centre of Dresden free of the considerable problems of clear ownership status. The long and narrow site is located on the heavily trafficked inner city ring road, close to the terraced banks of the Elbe River. This conflict between aggression and tranquillity provided the basis for the design, informing both the organisation of the building and its architectural expression.

The distinctive long, blue outer wall gives the school a clear identity. Facing onto the ring road the largely opaque facade provides a calming buffer against the hostility of automobile traffic, screening a series of educational spaces arranged over four floors.

In contrast the clusters of classrooms are turned away to the west, opening out over terraced gardens towards a residential district. Here the use of colour is equally lavish, but again, in support of the geometry, much more differentiated. Inside, various situations define the buil­ding; a chapel, a library, a communal hall, a sports hall and a roof top laboratory. Each have their own character and quality moods, traits which we believe should be encouraged in the education of our children, in their own individual development.

One enters the building from the south via a generously proportioned exterior stairway, set back from the busy traffic junction. An urban forecourt, serving as a recreational area, was designed to remove the entrance from the traffic. This area has been further defined and stabilized through landscaping and a grove of trees.

Photos

Location

Dresden, Germany

Client

Bistum Dresden-Meißen, Bischöfliches Ordinariat

Architect

Behnisch & Behnisch

Address

Pillnitzer Strasse 39
01069 Dresden
Germany

Design

1994-1996

Completion

1996

Gross

10.771 qm / 115,950 sq.ft.

Volume

45.742 cbm / 1,615,300 cu.ft.

Competition

1992, 1st prize

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