A new annex for the vocational school in Wolfsburg/text


Location: Wolfsburg
Competition: 3. Prize 2012
Client: City of Wolfsburg

A new annex for the vocational school in Wolfsburg

An extensive restoration was planned for the artisan’s district in Wolfsburg in order to gentrify the area. Therefore, the city of Wolfsburg tendered a competition with 25 participating architecture offices to modernize and restructure the vocational school that is situated within the district. The existing building was asked to be restructured, completed by a new annex. Also, part of the project was a new design for the schoolyard and entrance area. The competition aimed at finding a high-quality and functional design for the school and the concomitant revaluation of the quarter through a newly designed free space.

Our design is a consequent continuance of the existing building structure. The annex takes the height, axis and façade structure as a given pattern thus doubling the building volume. The clearly designed floor plan of the existing school is used for the new annex as well. The upper floors are organized simply and offer rooms for teaching, teachers and further offices. Contrary to that, the ground floor is designed openly and flexible with various possibilities for different uses, e.g. community activities. The annex – as well as the existing school – follows the clear proportions and presents a powerful gesture. The motif used for House A – an all-round glazed base with strongly emphasized pillars – is integrated into the design following the basic concept.  The rooms and functional areas are organized as landscape islands and can be rediscovered in the exterior design. Insights, outlooks and different perspectives offer a transparency welcoming pupils, teachers and visitors.

The vocational school develops into a city component with an own identity connecting the project to the structure of the surrounding. Between the new construction and the school a generous distance of 17 meters allows for an east-west crossing towards the schoolyard and adds another outdoor area to it. Yet, the newly designed forecourt presents the beginning of the ensemble. Accentuated by rows of trees the plants support the visual experience of the cubic volume presenting a meeting space, communication area and arrival point. The very pronounced exterior design is open to future developments offering a space for various usages and opportunities. When transitioning towards the gym soft hill shapes and a green lawn dominate the area. Different outdoor furniture like benches, a stage and a deck emphasize the free space design; colored spaces for different usages support the central idea. The consistent form language promotes the idea of a “free space” and creates a place of variety and high quality for pupils, teachers and residents.