On the southern outskirts of Gersthofen, multiphase construction of a new secondary school building was planned to replace the original school built in 1971. The complex includes a three-court sports hall overlooked by bleacher seating for spectators, adjacent outdoor sports areas in the southern part of the school grounds, and rooms for local music clubs in the north wing of the school.
The main aim of the architectural concept was to create a space that would cater to potential developments in education in the coming years. It was important for the structure to be flexible enough to allow a curriculum to be delivered during a phase of didactic transition. The design is intended to promote a strong sense of identity, while integrating smoothly into the existing school campus. A schoolyard located in the center of the campus is shared with the adjacent grammar school, the Paul Klee Gymnasium. The spacious area offers the students of both schools room for lunchtime or afternoon activities. The site’s topography was used to maintain the north-south axis passing across the traffic-free school area and made it possible for this axis to be redesigned in a way that would be disability friendly.
The building’s main entrance is at ground level on the upper access level. A second entrance leads directly into the central auditorium, which spans several stories, with the different levels connected by open staircases. With its south-facing orientation, this space forms the heart of the new school building. The idea of the internal two-story staircase with seating steps is developed outside in the form of landscaped terracing. The teachers’ rooms, school administration, all-day area, music room, and library are directly adjacent to the auditorium on the entrance floor. The teaching spaces are also located at entrance level and extend out into the landscape as “green classrooms” contained in their own wings. The small, protected areas between the wings have specialized zones for art, handicrafts, and cooking.
On the two upper floors, the individual wings of the building are subsumed into a free-form, compact structure consisting of two stories. On each story, there are six clusters or classroom spaces, each catering to two classes with group rooms and their own entrance area: this promotes the idea of a school community, which is reinforced by the annular arrangement of the rooms around the auditorium. The galleries on the upper floors make the building easy to navigate. This creates an informal setting where teachers, students, and parents can meet to talk and exchange information.
The optimal use of daylight, the creation of connections between exterior and interior, and the ability to personally customize the indoor climate play a vital role in ensuring user comfort and energy efficiency. The principles governing low-energy standards have thus been extended to include key qualities such as outdoor views and window ventilation that can be individually managed.