This new vocational college in Cologne features an inspired four storey light flooded hall surrounded by undulating galleries at different levels. The colours and material palette used throughout are calm and reserved,with stair stringers and doors framed with fine line panels, screed flooring and a subtly modulated acoustic ceiling with the appearance of an exposed concrete surface.
The acoustic ceiling here comes from Knauf AMF, who produced nearly 8000 m2 of HERADESIGN superfine A2 ceiling tiles for the design. Made from a 1-layer, non-combustible, magnesite bonded wood wool acoustic tile, the natural texture of the wood remains visible.
A particularly important aspect of the design is the exact integration of the curved floor line at the perimeter of the tiles, including the LED light strips. Lighting specialists LichtKUnstLIcht AG worked closely with the tiles manufacturer and installer to ensure the best possible integration of lights and LED strips.
The tiles were produced in defined dimensions at Knauf AMF’s Austrian plant in Ferndorf and then manually cut on site by specialist contractor Wildorf GmbH (Hillesheim)
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The Erzbischöfliche Berufskolleg in Cologne, completed in 2016, is one of the most impressive new educational buildings of recent times in North Rhine-Westphalia. The teaching and learning concepts are as interesting as the interior design and the dimensions of the complex. For this project, Knauf AMF delivered nearly 8000 m² of HERADESIGN® superfine A2 ceiling tiles.
The Erzbischöfliche Berufskolleg, according to its own figures, educates around 1100 youths for a variety of vocations in the social and healthcare sectors. Originally four different schools, since the end of the nineties a collective vocational college has slowly been established under the archbishopric in Cologne. On 30th June 2016, a collective building was constructed in the Sülz district on the corner of Berrenrather Street/Universitäts Street that was “specially built for us and is state-of-the-art in all areas”, as formulated by Headmistress Andrea Born-Mordenti.
The architecture and interior design of the building was the responsibility of 3pass (Cologne) and Keggenhoff & Partner (Arnsberg) who created an educational space for lively teaching and learning processes. The concept states: The training and further education of social and remedial professionals in vocational and study-related courses of education requires ‘to be on the move’ and a change of perspective in various relationship systems.” What this means for the language of the design can be best experienced by entering the large, open atrium. It is dominated by a wide, open staircase, curved floors and a transparent roof allowing daylight to flood in and providing an airy atmosphere.
In an interview, Judith Kusch, one of the proprietors of 3pass, described the architecture and light concept (from LichtKunstLicht AG, Bonn) as the idea of a light guide “where even the artificial light appears as an invisible source of the visible space.” To achieve this spatiality, a joint concept approach was necessary. The materials and colours were chosen accordingly: “The white and beige tones of the treated wood and cladding are homogenous and unobtrusive. Exposed concrete walls and the white ceiling contribute to the spatial character of the atrium being almost immaterial”, said Judith Kusch.
Frank Plogstert, Sales Manager in Germany for Knauf AMF, who followed the project through the design and the first phase of the construction remembers: “The structure and the organic forms made from exposed concrete with connecting shadow gap details to the structure of the interiors was very complex. For the ceilings, highly absorbent, non-combustible products were required that could be adapted to these forms on-site.” Reversibility and flexibility of the ceiling material were also wished for by the architect. In order to give the client an authentic idea of the optic impression of the design, an extensive sample room was constructed before the final material decision was made.
After an extensive consultation period, the decision for the ceilings was made as HERADESIGN® superfine A2 from Knauf AMF, fulfilling the requirements of high sound absorption and good on-site workability. In total 7780m² of these tiles in 2000 x 600 x 25 mm were installed throughout the building. HERADESIGN® superfine A2 is a 1-layer, non-combustible, magnesite bonded wood wool acoustic tile (fibre width 1mm) with an elegant surface structure. The tile carries the Blue Angel label, which also complies with the ecological approach of the architects.
The natural texture of the wood wool is visible even in the reserved white tone and the large ceiling areas don’t appear to be static.
Stephan Küsters, Knauf AMF Regional Sales Manager for Düsseldorf / Dortmund, who oversaw the project until completion: "A particularly noteworthy point regarding the ceilings is the exact integration of the curved floor line at the perimeter of the HERADESIGN® superfine A2 tiles, including the LED light strips." Special formats were necessary in order to be able to connect the tiles in the best possible way to the organic forms of the exposed concrete. The experts from LichtKunstLicht AG also worked intensively with the tiles and the ceiling construction in order to integrate the lights and light strips. This was aided by the fact that finishing and fitting took place on-site. The HERADESIGN® superfine A2 tiles were initially produced in defined dimensions at Knauf AMF’s Austrian plant in Ferndorf and then manually cut on-site by the specialist contractor Waldorf GmbH (Hillesheim).
Headmistress Andrea Born-Mordenti summarised the character of the new Berufskolleg as “a light-flooded building with a very special atmosphere.”