The new building of the Paul-Winter middle school will be erected right in front of the city gates of Neuburg. In addition to the program required for schooling purposes it will also comprise a gymnasium, outdoor sports areas, a school cafeteria and rooms for the after-school care of students. The building is situated on the southern edge of the city, close to the historic star fort Sternschanze, on an open site with rural characteristics. It responds to the varied topography surrounding it with the differentiated design of its constituent parts, which are interwoven to form a sculpted landscape for learning and physical activity. This historic context and the harmonious and the careful insertion of all parts of the building into their surrounding environment is the key design theme of the new school building. Its design is based on the principle of free order and broken down into smaller constituents to the building, where each individual part finds its own place and contributes to the greater whole completely naturally.
From northwest to southeast the ground falls away by around 8 meters so that the uses of the individual functional blocks across the site are the natural result of the existing contour lines. Different functional areas are lined up along the Kreuter Weg in the south and are also accessed from there.
The delicate roof edges cantilevering out from the section accommodating the subject-specific classrooms and labs at ground level guide visitors of the school towards the main entrance. Following the natural terrain the entrance area, the auditorium and the schoolyard of the middle school are distributed across two levels at the center of the campus and are connected to the schoolyard level at the first floor by way of generous staircases or grandstands. This is the heart of the school. The cafeteria, multi-purpose room, library, music rooms and after-school-care facilities have been clustered around it at different levels and can be flexibly configured for different kinds of events.
The subject-specific classrooms are situated in their own building wings which are level with the entrance and the schoolyard and protrude into the landscape like “green classrooms”. They are enchased from above by a free-form single-storied compact volume accommodating the regular classrooms. The two-court gymnasium is situated in the western part of the site along the Kreuter Weg and, as one wing of the building, has been partially dug into the ground. Above it are outdoor sports areas. All circulation areas can also be used as part of the daily educational work. Corridors, for example, have been linked to the roof terraces and double-function as escape routes.
Exterior areas and the schoolyard with terraced benches were designed to meld into the landscape, thereby creating highly individualized communal areas. The yard is situated underneath the fort in a sheltered position at the center of the school. Thus a generous space for learning and physical activity is created which opens out towards the green areas in the north and the sun in the south, follows the topography and caters to a wide range of different uses. School life thus can flow into and out of the building which serves as a continuous communication space for all visitors, who are always close the surrounding landscape and greenery, no matter where they are in the building. The façade’s sole function is to provide a thermal enclosure for the space within. It is predominantly transparent so that the resulting impression is that of an open learning environment surrounded by a glass curtain.
ARGE Behnisch Architekten | ALN
86633 Neuburg an der Donau
11.382 qm / 122,515 sq.ft.
51.457 cbm / 181,718 cu.ft.
2015, 1st prize