German School Madrid
The German School in Madrid, which was inaugurated in October 2015, is Germany’s largest civilian construction project abroad. Comprising an elementary school, high school, kindergarten, gymnasium, auditorium, canteen as well as a covered courtyard, the area covers over 27,000 sqm. The building is a complex monolithic reinforced concrete construction that consists of five structures connected by a wide-span dome with a steel shell that resembles pergolas.
The German School in Madrid, founded in 1896, is among the oldest and, with 1,800 students, one of the largest German international schools, and it is a central place of cultural exchange in the city. At its new location in the north of Madrid, different usages have been designated to separate structures, which merge together into one ensemble under the perforated roof construction of the foyer spaces.
The three main buildings – a kindergarten, a primary school and a secondary school – each surround their own interior courtyard and look out onto the snow-capped peaks of the Sierras. The geometricated landscape of stairs, ramps and steps follows the topography of the land and, with the lively interplay of light and shadow from the roofs and facades, creates distinct spatial environments.
There is also a dining hall for approximately 400 pupils, a four-part gymnasium and a hall for 700 persons that is used for public events as well. The school buildings are accessible mainly from the courtyards, with the internal spaces oriented to the landscape. The two covered courtyards have their own individual faces with aluminium grid structures inspired by Moorish architecture.
The load-bearing facades to the classroom tracts consist of precast V-shaped column supports and concrete upstand beams (parapet walls) with sloping tops set on the in-situ floors. Reinforcement for the upstand beams was incorporated in the floors. The facade columns in white concrete were then assembled on top, and in a third stage, the parapet walls were constructed in self-compacting in-situ white concrete. An additive in the in-situ elements prevents the penetration of water.
The concrete slabs were cast in 200 –300 m² bays. After setting, they were slit over about a third of their depth to create pentagonal areas. Closed with a flexible sealant, the slits form predetermined break lines to avoid ran- dom cracking. Roughly 15 per cent marble gravel was used in the exposed-aggregate concrete courtyard paving to match it in tone to the facades. The basically grey-white interior is complemented by elements with a coloration specific to the individual sections.
An important feature of the services is situated below ground. Fresh air is drawn in via the roof and conducted through three thermal labyrinths, where it is cooled by up to 6 °C in 1.50-metre-high concrete ducts. After several hundred metres, it is fed into a ventilation plant with a heat-recovery facility and from there taken up to the individual spaces. Extract air is again fed through the ventilation plant before being expelled above the roof.
“A school is more than a matrix of classrooms; it is the centre of the students’ living environment and shapes their understanding of both the built and natural worlds as well as their sociocultural experience. The spatial compositions and visual connections within the school promote a sense of group identification and intercultural exchange in order to carry on the tradition and success of the German School.” – Grüntuch-Ernst Architects
The new building in northern Madrid replaces its predecessor building in the city centre. With its special educational program and evening theatre performances and concerts, the German School Madrid is an important site for cultural exchange.
In this large complex, the school’s diverse areas of use are legible as clearly defined units. The individual buildings – the kindergarten, the primary school and the secondary school – each frame an inner courtyard. All patios open up to the surrounding landscape and a vista of the snow-covered mountains.
Reflecting both the requirements of the architectural brief and the topography of the site, the buildings develop differentiated spatial situations, yet all components unite into an organic ensemble with strong sculptural presence. The common areas – the “foyer courtyards”, the cafeteria, a concert hall/ auditorium with 700 seats and the sports hall – connect the individual school buildings.
All children meet in the foyer courtyards before dispersing in their individual school buildings. Here the sculptural strength of the polygonal skylights creates a captivating play of light, providing the pupils with valuable shade.
School buildings play a key role in conveying both building culture and sustainability. A return to traditional simplicity, while demonstrating innovative technological sophistication influences the design approach, it’s construction and building services. The implementation of ancient wisdom, such as natural cooling through a subterranean thermal maze, will ensure the building’s sustainable operation.
A school is more than a matrix of classrooms; it is the centre of the students’ living environment and shape their understanding of both the built and natural worlds as well as their sociocultural experience. The spatial compositions and visual connections within the school promote a sense of group identification and intercultural exchange in order to carry on the tradition and success of the German School.
Project name: German School Madrid (Deutsche Schule Madrid)
Location: Calle Monasterio de Guadalupe, 7, 28049 Madrid, Spain
Coordinates: 40.507393, -3.704923
Project area: 27,065 sqm
Competition Year: 1st prize competition 2009
Completion Year: 2015
Opening Date: October 2015
Visit German School Madrid’s Website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the BMUB, represented by the BBR (Project Director Gunter Machens) and Association Deutsche Schule Madrid
Architects: Grüntuch-Ernst Architects – Auguststraße 51, 10119 Berlin, Germany
Design: Armand Grüntuch, Prof. Almut Grüntuch-Ernst
- Benjamin Bühs, Ana Acosta Lebsanft, Irene Arranz Astasio, Rafael Ayuso Siart, Cristina Baixauli Garcia, Mar Ballesteros, Tina Balzereit, Anna Berger, Johannes Blechschmidt, Matthias Cremer, Benjamin Figueroa Henseler, Jost von Fritschen, María García Méndez, Joana García Puyuelo, Isabell Gruchot, Julia Naomi Henning, Kristina Herresthal, Götz Hinrichsen, Mónica Hinrichsen, Laura Jeschke, Rebeca Juárez, Johannes Klose, Markus Lassan, Itziar León Soriano, Danko Linder, Sarah Manz, Elena Martínez del Pozo, Vera Martinez, Annika Müller, Andreas Nemetz, María Isabel Ortega Acero, Ana Pascual Posada, Jaime Promewongse, Dominik Queck, Lisa Schäfer, Karsten Schuch, Borja Solórzano, Kerstin Thomsen, Pablo Claudio Wegmann, Henning Wiethaus, Víctor Wolff Casado, Anna Wolska
Project Management: Bureau Veritas Construction Services (Project Director Christian Gerlach)
Project Directors: Erik Behrends, Florian Fels, Olaf Menk, Arno Löbbecke, Jens Schoppe
Architects / General planning: Armand Grüntuch, Prof. Almut Grüntuch-Ernst
Structural Engineer: GTB-Berlin Gesellschaft für Technik am Bau mbH, Berlin
- Checking engineer for structural analysis: Prof. Dr. sc. Mike Schlaich, Berlin
- Building Services : Müller-BBM GmbH, Berlin
- Energy technology: Transsolar Energietechnik GmbH, Stuttgart
- Energy concept competition: Prof. Dr. Klaus Daniels / HL-Technik, Munich
- Fire Protection: hhpberlin, Berlin
- Fire protection/building services: Úrculo Ingenieros, Madrid
- Open space planning: Lützow 7 Garten- und Landschaftsarchitekten, Berlin
- Lightning design: Lichtvision, Berlin
- Geotechnical engineering: GuD Consult GmbH, Berlin
- Art: Carsten Nicolai, Berlin, Folke Hanfeld, Berlin
Manufacturers: Bega, Jansen, LafargeHolcim, Zumtobel, Warema, Okalux, Cobiax, Wicona, Iguzzini, Colt, SILL, Bocci
Text Description: © Courtesy of Grüntuch-Ernst Architects
Images: © Grüntuch-Ernst Architects, Celia de Coca, Jakob Schoof, flickr-Javier, flickr-Ximo Michavila