LocationSophienstraße, Karlsruhe, Germany
Support StructureDr. Kreutz+Partner
ElectricalIBE Ingenieurbüro Elektrotechnik GmbH
Building services/EnergyS&K Engineering
Project ManagerNiklas Storch
AssociatesUwe Neumeyer, Matthias Walter
Construction costsapprox. 4.2 million euros
Text description provided by the architects. Like the main building, the extension of the Fichte-Gymnasium forms part of the block-edge on Sophienstraße respecting the urban eaves line. The new building concept translates the motions and activities of the internal school activities into the layers and plasticity of the façade design. In the street façade, ribbon windows with coloured internal glazing interact with framed casement windows picking up and interpreting the theme of the perforated façades of the Wilhelminian buildings along the Sophienstraße. To this end, the façade is covered with a “glass skin”, smoothing its plasticity facing the public space.
In the rhythm of the activity zones, “lookout windows” with deep alcoves at prominent locations offer a focussed view of the urban space. The north façade design picks up on the square theme. Here, the façade becomes sculptural and alternating with classrooms forms windows turned outward with alcoves looking onto the school playground. The passage to the school playground is at the eastern end. The main entrance is located as close as possible to the main building of the Fichte-Gymnasium, located a few plots to the west ensuring a short connection.
The building is organised on three storeys and a partial cellar underneath the central stair well. The dining room is located on the ground floor and all auxiliary rooms are located to the east of the dining room where - away from the public main entrance - the staff entrance and the delivery entrance are positioned. The generously designed hall-like foyer provides a direct connection on ground level with the school playground.
By removing a mobile wall, the foyer and the dining room can be added to form a joint space transforming the generous staircase into a public gallery allowing wide views of the multifunctional hall, which can serve as a dining hall or as an auditorium. The staircase is designed with a split level where toilets and ancillary rooms are located. On the upper floors, a corridor along the south façade gives access to the rooms for day school activities and the classrooms. This corridor is wide enough to serve as communication area. The windows facing the street extend outward providing alcoves that invite pupils and teachers to take a break.
The south façade consists of a flat, translucent and ventilated profiled glass façade forming a “skin” and covering an insulated reinforced concrete wall laminated with white foil. In the perforated shear wall, coloured glass panels are embedded on the corridor side, providing the corridors with different shades of colour depending on the position of the sun.
The square casement windows form alcoves on the corridor side and are coated with a bronze coloured reflective film. These windows mirror the historical façades of the surrounding buildings. The large transparent glazing towards the great hall serving as dining room is designed as a “display window”. It permits direct views of the current activities in this multi-purpose room.
Towards the courtyard, generous opening window/door units enable a direct spatial connection between the dining room and the inner courtyard. The courtyard façade carries a mineral thermal insulation and white plaster. A skylight above the foyer air space carries over the theme of large square openings into the horizontal plane; thus, flooding the high connecting room with light.