The Albert Schweitzer School is located in a residential area in the Wiesbaden district of Mainz-Kostheim, which is very much characterised by the building style of the 1970s.
The new, two-storey school building is designed to fit in with the dimensions of the surrounding buildings in the heterogeneous and fragmented city suburb. As a formation, it consists of three buildings angled to one another in a way that creates differentiated open spaces and outlooks. This generates a variety of exterior areas of different character, which serve not only for recreational purposes, but also for sport and the school’s educational concept.
A circumferential pergola that runs around the 1st floor joins the 3 compact school buildings and allows the classrooms to be connected directly to the schoolyards. Thanks to the fine wavelike structure of the façade elements, the outline of the prefabricated exposed concrete floors and ceilings are visible, giving the façade its particularly striking appearance. Floor-to-ceiling, perforated metal hangings pick up the wave structure of the façade and remind one of airy curtains that, thanks to the interplay between translucence and openness, convey a feeling of security and concentration in the classrooms.
The concept for the all-day school, which was designed as a school for children with learning difficulties, foresees an open-plan room structure on the ground floor, in which all specialised classrooms, the school cafeteria, and an event space maintain a relationship to one another. Floor-level wooden-framed windows and glazing all the way round create a clear connection to the exterior spaces. Across from the entrance, a single-flight staircase leads to the classrooms on the upper floor.
The formwork used for the stairway and in the stairwell once again picks up the wave motif, and in doing so it consolidates the special representative character of the architecture. A skylight located right above the stairway brightens up the interior atrium of the upper floor, and also guides the daylight into the central areas of the ground floor. All 3 school buildings can be accessed from the atrium. Here, short sections of hallway open up into tent-like open spaces – the so-called ‘learning nodes’. Daylight-controlled skylights brighten up these interior spaces and at the same time enliven the fine texture of the curry-toned acoustic cladding. Circumferential glazing connects the classrooms and smaller separate areas with the learning nodes. With the help of textile curtains, these can be separated off or opened up visually in a flexible manner. This creates a multi-layered range of possibilities for teachers to teach lesson contents situatively, and also allows pupils from one cluster to take part in shared learning in different constellations.