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Johann-Pachelbel Real- und Fachoberschule, Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei, Foto: Zooey Braun

Space for Knowledge: Secondary School and Technical College by Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei

Bounded to the north by a road and to the east by a nascent apartment house, the H-shaped building integrates into the urban structure. The architects have organized the school complex like a small village: the two elongated main tracts, which are positioned parallel to the road, are connected by a vertical middle part. They spread over two squares which – in different styles – complement and round out the interior concept. At the northeast corner, there is a large gymnasium which also functions as an acoustic buffer for the road. The school is accessed via the yard-like outer area on the east side. While visitors enter the school centrally through the connecting piece, the laterally delimiting volume opens up in part, making the square a communicative meeting point. The second open-air zone is significantly more private and intended only for school uses such as breaks and events.

Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei Architekten have conceived the secondary school and technical college as a brick building. This material gives the structure a timeless appearance. The uniform façades of the three-storey building are interrupted by their surrounds of white-framed window bands. In the gym area there are round openings which evoke associations with the portholes of a ship. The top of the school features flat roofs, some of which are extensively planted, while other areas are used as terraces.

The entryway with foyer is home to the main stairway and is devoted to the distribution of those using the building. An oval atrium allows light to shine in all the way down to the main floor. Moreover, this tract accommodates a music hall and several multipurpose spaces. Kitty corner to this, the specialized class areas for both school types are found in the northern part of the building, beside the gym. The southern wing finishes with the classrooms. In the secondary school, these are found on the ground and first upper floors; in the technical college, they are on the second upper floor. In the lower areas, the spaces can be extended to the outside. Cosy niches for conversation line the corridors.

Inside, walls and ceilings consist of a combination of exposed concrete and plastered or painted surfaces. The foyer has natural stone floor; the other areas have linoleum. Occasional wooden elements such as doors, fittings and handrails set accents and complete the material palette.

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