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School Modernization

Finally, with discussion of the economic stimulus package, the often neglected subject of school renovation is beginning to take centre stage - and not only in Germany. In places where renovation once hit various stumbling blocks, now projects are meeting deadlines and being pushed forward at maximum throttle so as to profit from the supporting funds – before they run out. By using reasonable resources, the aim is to technically or functionally improve buildings, either by maintaining the buildings as they are or providing a completely new concept.

On the topic of modernising schools, DETAIL Concept 9/2009 presents an overview of current, exemplary projects: the responsible architects, builders and users highlight their respective concepts.

For example, a former prefabricated prototype in Berlin gets a highly insulated facade makeover, while the interior rooms remain the same. In Graubünden, Switzerland, a heat insulation binding is wrapped around a village school, with specific colours used in the interior to assist orientation between school and community areas. Modern classrooms as well as colourfully decorated interiors make a schoolhouse from 1907 in Lauffen am Neckar, Germany, come alive. Basic yet gentle modernisation could be used to describe one particular monument of 1960s modernity: the completely renovated Düsseldorf primary school received a new facade, which despite contemporary construction physics remains true to its original form. A school renovation and extension in Washington D.C. demonstrates that ambitious projects US are also now pushing the envelope of ecology. Sustainable measures not only influence the plans, but also find their way into the educational concepts: a biotope, which serves the school’s own water treatment, is in the centre of the school courtyard; on the roof, between the solar chimneys, the school has created gardens; and information on the water intake as well as energy usage and creation is available anytime online.

In addition to this, an introductory article takes a look at typical problems and solutions for sustainable renovation of school buildings. Based on successful examples from and around Zurich, in Switzerland, a separate article explains different tactics for further development of school locations.

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