The Essen-Altendorf district thrives off its multiculturality, but it is also home to socially disadvantaged people. The new Bockmühle Comprehensive School with its modern sports hall and neighbourhood centre is conceived as a socially sustainable place for everyone in the district. In our competition design we draw an axis from Altendorfer Straße through Blambeckpark to the new hub of the complex, a shared public square. From here, pathways branch off to surrounding green spaces, connecting leisure facilities for the pupils and the neighbours.
Learning environments reimagined
The task in this competition was not to just design a school. Rather, the objective was to upgrade the complete neighbourhood with strategic architectural and urban interventions. Our design concentrates on the new centre of the neighbourhood, the square. This approach to the open space of the site provides an array of added qualities for the pupils and teachers as well as the inhabitants of the adjacent apartment buildings – Essen-Altendorf transforms into a blossoming city district around this new centre of communication.
»We want to create an unmistakable building ensemble, which is distinguished by its inviting and identity-forming character and offers a high-quality experience in all realms for pupils, teachers, and visitors alike.«
Claude Probst, Franz&Sue project manager
For now and many generations to come
The underlying idea of this project was to conceive the comprehensive school as a place of encounters, understanding, and social participation. Three offset volumes form the education complex, which is functionally divided into two zones. The common spaces, such as the aula and cafeteria, are located in the eastern section, which is lit from both sides with an adjoining terrace. Above are the administration offices, classrooms for specialised courses, and a cluster for secondary school level II. To the west are six large clusters with open learning zones for the class units of secondary school level I. If there is a change in the demands for the school building – for example, due to demographic shifts – the timber-hybrid skeleton construction enables very flexible responses to future requirements as the individual massive cores are kept to a minimum. The wood frame structure of the façade is not only ecologically sustainable, it also allows uncomplicated adaptations.
»The design of the school building is convincing with its clear articulation of the three offset volumes. The construction and façade structure form a harmonious whole. They subtly transfer the diverse functions and usages of the school centre to the outside and define a place with character.«
Excerpt from the jury protocol
Free space for all
The urban square on the central plateau of the site, which connects the school, sports hall, and neighbourhood centre with one another, forms an axis between the adjacent traffic arteries and interlocks into the surrounding district. Pedestrians walk along it, bikers pedal by, and children play on it in the water fountains. Winding pathways branch off, leading to the new campus park in the south with its playground, leisure, and recreation zones, work terraces, pavilions, and fruit gardens. The square is not just for the children to enjoy their recess; it is also a place where neighbours can wind down and recharge.
»On the whole, the proposal succeeds in calmly combining a coherent urban concept with a school building that promises high spatial qualities.«
Excerpt from the jury protocol
Type Of Commission
nicht offener Realisierungswettbewerb
Gross Floor Area
Claude Probst, Alexandra Chrobak, Jakob Fichter