Legner en van Ooyen
Primary Education (pre-school + primary)
Number of classrooms:
New developments to preserve original character
This modern school building dates from 1961 and was designed by architect Paul Schneider-Esleben. In 1990 it was protected as a monument because of its architecture, which reminds of the IIT buildings in Chicago, designed by Mies Van Der Rohe, and because of the educational value of the works of art that are integrated into it. The building concept is sober with two wings of classrooms linked to each other by staircases around an inner courtyard. The wing built on pillars is connected with the playground in the back. Between the front walls in glazed brickwork, the long walls are characterized by austerity of form due to the prefabricated wall modules between the originally visible concrete skeleton. A 2 cm thick indoor insulation and single glazing were sufficient at the time.
For the purpose of the current restoration, inventive solutions were needed to repair façades and meet present-day standards at the same time. Thermal insulation wrapping and a completely new cladding in 2.5 cm thick panels in glassfibre reinforced cement offered the solution. Double glazing in new aluminium windows required strengthening by steel reinforcements. The full walls below the windows were only reused for classroom façades and provided with thin vacuum insulation panels. On hallway side, glass was used for the walls below the window sills so as to offer a wide view on the playground in the inner courtyard. During the current rehabilitation under the direction of Legner and van Ooyen, the building was also upgraded as to moisture, thermal and sound insulation and fire safety. The renovation also comprised the improvement of indoor air quality and removal of hazardous substances like asbestos and PCBs.
The austere architecture of the building combined with attention for standardization reflects post war frugality. Nevertheless, visual arts were not saved on. Three out of four works of art have been preserved: a sculpture of the architect in the inner courtyard with the school bell and the lighting, a movable colour organ (Heinz Mack) and a wall sculpture “Schattenspiel” (Günther Uecker). It is also remarkable that in those days all necessary furniture, the paper baskets, washbasins, radiators and curtain tracks were manufactured according to the design of the architect.
The text is an abstract and translation of the text of Klaus Legner published in the architecture magazine Detail 9/2009. Detail also published an article on the building in Detail 6/1962 that is available online at website www.detail.de/0177.