Lightness and openness inform the design of the new building of the Lurup neighborhood school in Hamburg. These attributes complement the teaching concept of the new school and support it, providing a large range of different learning settings with open spatial structures and an emphasis on communication.
The existing district school, which is currently attended by around 900 students from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds is based at three different locations. It will be enlarged to accommodate six classes per grade and consolidated at a single site. The City of Hamburg took this step in response to the increasing number of students in this district and to adapt to new approaches in teaching.
The new school will present itself as a distinctive and unique building, which, at a formal level, nevertheless responds appropriately to its surroundings. The carefully arranged staggered building massing inserts itself with balanced lightness into the context. The building will primarily be perceived through its sculptural roof contours, appearing as harmonious lines. The façade itself is recedes back from the slab edge, a simple thermal envelope, which offers climatic protection. It is almost fully transparent, giving the impression of an open learning environment lightly shrouded with glazing.
From the central lobby the ground floor gives direct access to a multi-purpose room, neighborhood café with outdoor seating, day-care center, multimedia center and community areas, all of which are playfully arranged around an open atrium filled with daylight. From the entrance atrium the three sports halls can also be reached. The entrance level is articulated as a fluid space with classrooms, multiple links to the outside space and connections to the upper floors, through voids. Flights of stairs interlink the different floors and facilitate communication and orientation in the building. Light-filled learning spaces, market squares and classrooms dissolve the boundaries between circulation areas and areas dedicated to specific uses, filling the entire building with life.
Authenticity and appropriateness for the intended purpose have guided the choice of proposed materials. A composite timber- aluminum façade, designed as modular system with opaque timber elements emphasizes the idea of this being an open setting for learning. The proposed reinforced concrete skeleton construction with exposed concrete soffits for thermal activation, steel railing with mesh and purpose-built timber furniture and partitions create a well-measured contrast to hard-wearing linoleum and carpeted flooring in the corridors and classrooms.
The building’s energy and climate concept aims to minimize the effort required to construct and operate the building with a combination of active and passive measures, whilst at the same time optimizing comfort. The higher thermal energy demand during winter is offset by optimized daylighting and efficient building services technology.