Ludwig-Weber School
© David Matthiessen

Ludwig-Weber School

Behnisch Architekten como Arquitectos

The new building for the Ludwig-Weber School provides an attractive new learning environment for two hundred elementary school students. Taking its cue from the school’s motto “Together Not Alone,” the building provides the bedrock for a lively school community with a wide range of learning landscapes, open interior spaces, and additional “green” outdoor classrooms.

photo_credit © David Matthiessen
© David Matthiessen

In the multicultural Sindlingen district in the western part of Frankfurt, a modern building was envisaged that would promote inclusiveness, diversity, and integration while acting as a focal point for the neighborhood. The two-class elementary school with its cafeteria and facilities for a full-day program was designed in accordance with a more sophisticated pedagogic concept – marked by a shift from a “teacher-centered” to a “learner-centered” approach. The striking new three-story building blends effortlessly into the existing setting, while retaining a strong sense of individuality that nevertheless enters into a dialogue with its surroundings.

photo_credit © David Matthiessen
© David Matthiessen

Its organic form, ringed by vertically staggered terraces, contrasts with the strict linearity of the residential buildings in the Ferdinand-Hofmann-Siedlung and conveys an inviting, welcoming quality. The finely tuned recessing of the individual floors establishes an appropriate sense of scale, while the subtle light tones of the timber-clad facade radiate a cheerful geniality enhanced by the irregular patterning of different colored woods.

photo_credit © David Matthiessen
© David Matthiessen

The building as a whole is conceived as a permeable spatial continuum structured around a central atrium. Well-lit “agorae” breathe life into the building, and snug recesses with an appealing seating design create a playful tone, offering students a place to meet and talk. These areas transition into open hallways, underscoring the sense of expansiveness. The classrooms themselves are equipped with built-in custom furniture made of a wood composite and are floored in a textile material in natural tones, while the colorful cloakroom areas with stepped seating platforms and built-in lockers—which can also be used for teaching purposes—give each class an individual sense of identity. A connecting room is allocated to each set of two adjoining classrooms.

photo_credit © David Matthiessen
© David Matthiessen

The building is surrounded by a large schoolyard conceived as an enclosed space for different forms of exercise, accompanied by a garden and areas where children can sit and study. All the classrooms have direct access to this space, while the upper floors lead out onto the surrounding balconies. “Green classrooms” equipped with tables and benches provide outdoor teaching options. Another feature of the school is the gymnasium, which is functionally and structurally integrated into the building’s overall design with a distinctive roof formed of contoured beams.

photo_credit © David Matthiessen
© David Matthiessen

The design has led to the creation of a building for a multicultural student body with a varied range of spaces for different modes of learning: the atmosphere it radiates is designed to exert a favorable influence on students, teachers, and parents alike, with effects that reverberate beyond the school day.

photo_credit © David Matthiessen
© David Matthiessen
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