ERICH KäSTNER SCHULE || Leipzig, DE || 2009 || Invited competition
Number of stories
The number of stories of the building is reduced to 2. The children will have a more direct contact with the external areas and with nature. The maximum eight of the school building is 8 meters. Only a light transparent volume emerges: it is the steel mesh box enveloping the outdoor sports fields, lying on the roof of the sports-hall.
Position of the building on the plot
The position of the sports hall establishes a clear landmark, visible from Georg-Shuhmann-Str, especially in case of demolition of the actual tall school building. At the same time, it allows the construction of the new sports structure while the existing one is still operating. Phasing: 1) Construction of the new sports hall. 2) Demolition of the old one.3) Advancement of the construction site and completion of the school building.
The setbacks from the street (9 meters) and the confining plots (at least 4 meters) are carefully calculated in order to save all the protected trees.
The voids, then, “construct” the school as well as the built structure, establishing a gradient of open air spaces. Between the breaking zone adjacent to Erfurter Str. and the triangular school garden on the south, the pattern of patios, conceived as “extroverted greenhouses”, provides more intimate didactic gardens and is the natural extension into open-air summer classes.
The 2 stories clearly define the organization of the program: the ground floor will host the kindergarten together with the main collective spaces (entrance hall distributing to both the school and the sports-hall, mensa, multi purpose hall, library), while the school classes and the different laboratories are on the 1st floor.
Walking north-south one reaches the main entrance hall, anticipated by a wide loggia covered by the cantilevered volume of the 1st floor. School and sports hall have independent accesses open on the entrance area, so that sport clubs can use the gym facilities in the evening bypassing the school entrance.
The wide “central navata” that opens on the entrance is the main distribution system of the whole building. All vertical connections and services are distributed along its length, and on its opposite side it hosts all wardrobes and it expands into the widely illuminated multipurpose hall, directly connected to the mensa. The “navata” gives access on the south to four orthogonal corridors serving the 12 kindergarten rooms and several other facilities. Three of these corridors reach the school garden on the extreme southern side of the building. The distribution scheme is replicated on the 1st floor but here the corridors, in number of 7, open on both sides of the “navata” to reach the 16 classrooms (4 on each side), plus the library, workshops, and all the other facilities related to the school. The sports hall has a completely independent circulation system, and a dedicated stair and elevator core reaches the sport fields on the rooftop.