In order to break up the mundane appearance of the standardised “SK 66 Berlin” school building with its typical ribbon windows, the frontage needed to be given a new character. At the same time, the interior design should not detract from the identity of the original building. The uniform cladding of the façade lends the building a monolithic character. The result is a coherent, homogeneous unit that assumes its natural place in the cityscape. Seen from the Frankfurter Allee, the distinctive mantle of slatted storey-high cedar wood panels is truly impressive. The building rises between the trees of the adjacent cul-de-sac, where the choice of materials does full justice to its location in the inner-block green area. The new exterior is interspersed with spacious room-high openings.
These are arranged in a composition which enhances the visitor’s perception of the transition from the interior to the exterior. The extensive openings create a dramatic impact from both interior and exterior perspectives, generating a unique lighting effect. The slatted panels act as a filter between the interior and the exterior worlds. When the building is viewed from outside, the observer’s gaze is directed toward the glazing as it would be to a shop window, beyond which the bookshelves can be discerned. From inside the building, the eye is drawn to the exciting interplay of openings with and without a screen of vertical panels. Since the panels obscure part of the view to the exterior, they create a contemplative atmosphere. At the same time, the line of sight offered to the viewer enables the world to be discovered anew. In contrast to the filtered perspective, selected locations offer an unobscured and expansive view over the Frankfurter Allee or the vast courtyard resplendent with lush plane trees.
The panels are set at a variety of angles to allow the light to penetrate at varying degrees of brightness. At night, when the building is lit from the inside, many parts of the otherwise sombre monolith take on a light and fragile appearance. The substructure of the new facade consists of a wooden framework force-fitted to the building by means of steel brackets. This timber framework is filled with thermal insulation material in mineral wool and concealed by black facade strips so that it merges completely into the background. The prefabricated cedar wood panels are fitted onto this framework. The vertical panels are arranged at a number of different angles so that the facade creates a dynamic visual effect. As the observer changes position, the visual impressions is a shifting of light and shade evocative of the wind coursing through a field of barley.
Frankfurter Allee 14a, 10247 Berlin
“Bezirkszentralbibliothek Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Berlin” 2008, 1. Prize
International Architectural Award 2013
Recognition Deutscher Holzbaupreis 2011
Nomination DAM Preis für Architektur in Deutschland 2011
Building volume: 14.180 m3
Gross area: 4.100 m2
Use area: 2.682 m2
Building cost: T€ 5.608
Result of competition: August 2008
Beginning of planning: 2008
Start of building: Oktober 2009
End of building: November 2010