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solid wood school for mentally handicapped children

In the sense of – regarding internal and external impulses on the senses – a “breathing” organism, the design concept is a patchwork-like building with an open space structure, functioning as a center-point in the lives of approximately 100 mentally handicapped children and their 40 teachers. The open spaces of different uses spread around the building filter and combine the direct influences from the environment, forming the edge of an existing school center in the transition to the landscape.

 

The materiality of the profiled board pile construction forms a constant texture with high sensual stimulation, creating a place for communicative human dialogue. The tectonics of the board stacking was described by professor Julius Natterer as “a kind of social federation, in which a possible defect of an individual board element does not lead to the general destruction of the entire structure, because the weight will be carried by the next boards,” symbolizes the didactical-educational point of this building project in the effort of supporting the individual pupil in contrast to the background of a traditional school community. The building can be experienced sensually in many ways. Apart from its optics, alive due to the surface shaping with changing lighting effects, it is tentative, audible, smell-able, when resinous even taste-able.

 

The altogether used wood quantity of 1400 cubic meters of actual wood material results in the best qualities regarding climate, fire and noise control. The buildings energy and technical concept supports the timber conception by the application of simple natural principles with ventilation, heating and lighting. The material wood is differentiated carefully and comprehensibly for the achievement of lowest possible building maintenance costs regarding the demand by durable, white-pigmented oiled fir wood walls and ceilings, hardwearing doors, upper ground floor covering, hand rails and coat racks etc. from fumed oak and a larch wood covering of the class yards.

 

The facade of heat-treated-wood cladding in similar profiling to the inside and wood-aluminum windows intends with surface-concise aging, maintenance-minimized outer skin. In correspondence with only a few further materials, such as the asphalt floor-panels of the ground floor, which continue and connect the outside space in the inside, the punctually supplementing steel and the air-pressure-membrane-roof,  transferring the elasticity of the wood in the forum and over the recess yard, the materiality of the building  is made noticeable for the children.

 

The principle of the selected and reserved colors of the materials also allows on the thereby formed neutral fond a maximum effectiveness of the childlike/artistic styles.

 

The homogenous materiality shows that, contrary to schools built by investors ready for occupancy with often doubtful value, a courageous public client with his custom-made building follows his social obligation of supporting the youth in an extremely lasting way. The first experiences with the building show that it seems to be going beyond pure architecture, asking the users to reflect about the interaction of humans with one another and dealing with nature.