Twenty-one years after their first visit, Behnisch return to Hilde-Domin-Schule for an additional project
The original school complex for domestic economics and agriculture designed by Behnisch & Partner was completed in 1983. In 2004 Behnisch Architekten were commissioned to design a new, independently accessible annexe that was to function autonomously.
This annexe is sited immediately to the south of the original accommodating six craft workshops and two classrooms with ancillary rooms, a small assembly hall, offices for staff and the pupils’ council, a doctor’s surgery and a room for meetings with parents. The tranquil, single-storey, flat-roofed annexe is firmly integrated into the school complex. It respects the style and character of its larger neighbour without copying it. Subtle modelling of the landscape serves to tie the two structures together.
From the main entrance to the north the visitor reaches a generously glazed lobby with beautiful views across meadows and orchards. The lobby serves to separate the assembly hall from the classrooms; from here pupils can access a recreation yard sheltered by the projecting roof. The hall, used for events outside school hours by the local community, is orientated towards a small bio-top.
The annexe is primarily a timber structure. With its projecting horizontal forms it appears to almost hover above the ground. In contrast, all ancillary rooms are housed in seemingly hermetic timber ‘boxes’; the positioning of which serve to structure the interior with the open forms of the classrooms largely free of constraints.
Classrooms and workshops are extensively glazed to both the façade and corridors creating airy, open perspectives, promoting visual contact between the school community. Green linoleum floor coverings accentuate the rural ambiance of the building, whilst workshops devoted to visual arts and sculpture have parquet flooring. Practical considerations influenced the choice of timber, which was to remain untreated. Local larch wood was selected due to its ability to weather graciously.