Print page
-

Topics

Architecture | Topics

Polygonal Geometry: Elementary School in Berlin

The positioning and polygonal footprint of the new after school care centre at the Maria Montessori Elementary School in Berlin takes into account various different parameters confining the building site, as well as the relationship to the existing listed school building. The course of a 100-metre tartan track continues uninterrupted past a specially recessed main entrance area. The track connects the old schoolyard with the "garden theatre" created on the other side of the new structure.

Architects: Kersten + Kopp Architekten, Berlin
Location: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Str. 72-74, D-12103 Berlin

Elementary School in Berlin

Photograph: Werner Huthmacher

The narrowness and multiple constraints of the building site resulted in the construction of a compact tower-like volume, which rises up on a diamond-shaped polygonal ground plan. While the large undercut for the running track formulates the entrance situation, triangular indented sections on the upper floors serve as open-air class areas  for the group rooms. The sculptural treatment of the structure results in a varied appearance depending on the perspective – surprising the observer again and again. This effect is amplified by a playful perforation of the building envelope with windows of different shapes and sizes. Compact formats alternate with narrow window strips, both of which are contrasted by the large storey-high ribbon windows identifying the open-air class areas in the façade.

Elementary School in Berlin

Site plan. Diagram: Kersten + Kopp Architekten

Elementary School in Berlin

In the north, the positioning of the building is determined by waste water pipes that could not be built over, while the diagonal course of the plot defines the shape of the building in the west.

Elementary School in Berlin

The large undercut for the running track formulates the entrance situation of the new after school care facility. Photograph: Werner Hutmacher

The new 4-storey building accommodates a cafeteria on the ground floor and 10 group rooms on three upper floors. Large central communicative open play corridors lead to group rooms situated to the north, south, east and west. Special triangular spaces (used as relaxation area, climbing space or open-air class area) lie between the group rooms. All the group rooms are connected to the respective adjacent areas, forming a complex spatial network together with the two-storey-high climbing space.

Benches to sit on, niches to retreat in, and recessed spaces for exhibiting objects or for sitting in integrated in the fitted shelves and cupboards, are finished in warm colours that pick up the red and beige tones of the brick façade of the listed school building. The homely character of the interior is emphasised by sand- and beige-coloured curtains, some of which can also be used as room dividers.

Elementary School in Berlin

The red and beige tones of the brick façade of the listed school building are picked up inside. Photograph: Werner Hutmacher

Elementary School in Berlin

Photograph: Werner Huthmacher

Elementary School in Berlin

Ground floor plan. Diagram: Kersten + Kopp Architekten

Elementary School in Berlin

Third floor plan. Diagram: Kersten + Kopp Architekten

Elementary School in Berlin

Special triangular spaces: relaxation area, climbing space or open-air class area. Photograph: Werner Hutmacher

Elementary School in Berlin

Sections C-C, D-D . Diagram: Kersten + Kopp Architekten

The solid structure is mainly constructed of reinforced concrete. Freely perforated outer walls are designed as load-bearing walls. Together with the bracing stairwell walls, these allow flexible and reversible interior structuring. The exterior reinforced concrete walls in the areas of the large ribbon windows and open-air classes additionally function as large, partly buckled supporting elements. The downward forces resulting from the cantilever structure above the running track are distributed to the bracing wall elements via the ceiling slabs of the respective storeys.

Elementary School in Berlin

Photograph: Werner Huthmacher

The rough plastering structure of the new after school care centre contrasts with the fine and sharply defined window and roof parapet profiles made of bronze-coloured anodized aluminium. This sand-coloured, mineral-based, fine scratch coat plastering façade gives the building sculpture a homogeneous velvety finish.

Elementary School in Berlin

Foto: Werner Huthmacher

Client: Land of Berlin
Structural engineering: ifb frohloff staffa kühl ecker, Berlin
Building services engineering: WINTER Beratende Ingenieure, Berlin

Completion: 2010
Usable area: 740 m²
Gross volume: 6,000 m³
Total cost: approx. EUR 2.3 million

Space allocation programme:
10 child care rooms 400 m²
Carer staff room 30 m²
Cafeteria/dining area 160 m²
Kitchen/food serving area 40 m²
Climbing space 12 m²
Lounge 17 m²

Further information
www.kersten-kopp.de

Advertisement

Related articles
Architecture

Puristic facades in exposed concrete: Chipperfield's office extension in Berlin

S. 605

Puristic, modern and clear – this is the impression made by the exposed concrete facades at David Chipperfield Architects' Berlin ...

mehr
Architecture

Clear Sign: a Plus for the Future

In Stuttgart, architects and scientists discussed the latest insulation systems: attractive façades despite of heat insulation composite systems, vacuum insulation, ...

mehr
Architecture

Susi Weigel Kindergarten in Austria: Inspiration from Children's Story books

At the new kindergarten in Bludenz, the interior design takes inspiration from motifs by the artist for children's story books. ...

mehr