Filderstadt, a municipality situated in the south of Stuttgart has set itself the task of upgrading the architecture of the school premises comprising the existing Gotthard-Müller School and the Fleinsbach School in its Bernhausen district. The schools will also be developed with a new educational concept to prepare them for the requirements of the future. The Gotthard-Müller School will be replaced by a new building for a primary and a public high school, each of which will have two streams. In addition there are plans to provide expansion areas to enable full-day operation of the Fleinsbach School as well as for rooms to be used by both schools jointly.
The leitmotif of the architectural design is that of a lively school campus which provides a congenial setting within which the staff and students an work together individually. Educational ideas of bringing together cooperative and social learning styles are supported by a diverse range of learning environments which are set into a built context characterized by openly designed communicative spaces and differently configured classrooms and group rooms.
Carefully interweaving with the exterior space, the building fits in very naturally with its heterogeneous surroundings while at the same time developing its own distinctive new individuality. The free flowing interconnected open spaces of the agora and the schoolyards, planted areas and an open-air theatre serve as elements of a landscape which provides a sense of community and bind the schools together.
A shared lobby provides access to facilities used by both schools, such as the students’ library and the dining room; the latter serves a particularly important function as it is the place where students can get together, communicate and learn. The design of the ground floor is based on the model of an open house and is understood as an extension of open space. Together with the agora outside it will work like a vibrant market place which offers plenty of special places for people to meet, it will help the schools to grow together and exert a lasting positive influence on the staff/student relationship.
Vertically the atrium branches out and leads to the functionally separate schools on the higher floors, each of which is going to feature its own, individually nuanced design. The primary school which comprises different “learning houses” is arranged on two levels. The public high school spans three levels, each of which accommodates a learning studio, a classroom and has an expansive outside terrace for art lessons. In analogy with the primary school here, too, the design pursues the idea of learning houses. Smoothly designed transitions between the rooms and corridor areas are exciting in-between spaces, which, just like the open areas on the ground floor, have been articulated as extended classrooms and provide scope for new teaching formats.
The proposed choice of materials reflects a theme of authenticity. A timber-aluminum façade designed as a unitized façade with opaque wood elements drives home the idea of an open learning environment. The basis for the energetically sustainable operation of the building is the comfort concept which is geared towards maximum exploitation of the building’s intrinsic thermal properties. It also entails passive energy measures which help minimize the need for technical building services.