postfossil Dr Urban and Mr Hide University of Gttingen kindergarten

The project of a new postfossil kindergarten for the University of Gttingen is Despang Architekten s most current case study in the sequence of typological prototypes for educational design, as the typology with the biggest potential for societal progression and improvements my means of multiplication of experienced architectural and ecological qualities through the youngest terrestrial advocates. The area of education, hopefully consequently as well in its built manifestation, has most recently in the USA and Germany been identified as a societal core value which is supported with stimulus funding support.
According to Wikipedia Gttingen is for Germany, what Cambridge is for the UK and Yale for the USA, very provincially located, no one ends up there if not for research, studies and the professors, who therefore swear it being the middle of the universe.
To as least as possible sacrifice the flora and fauna of the green campus through a new structure, the project after an investigative analysis and various iterations has been placed next to an existing 1970s dormitory and a fairly new laboratory building. Instrumental in the negotiations was as well the ordinary prairie dog, who as an endangered species in that area has settled around the site.
Regarding the requirements for passive house / postfossil design in that climate zone as orientation open to the South , closed to the North and insulation wrapped all way around , the building was negotiated with the client and the prairie dogs as a hybrid of landscape and architecture, with the working title of Dr. Urban and Mr Hide as the double faced notion of being building to the South and landscape through berming to the West and the North.
The building is accessed from the East and synergistically uses the existing infrastructure around the two existing buildings for the intensification of pedestrian frequency. Opening up the building to this side strategically uses the shading properties of the adjacent dormitory for solar overheating protection in the summer morning hours. In return the intensive green roof of the prairie dog kindergarten secures the balance of the micro climate for the dormitory and the laboratory in preventing the heat island effect of a conventional hardscape roof.
In the sense of the understanding of architecture as the spatial expression of event and activity, which only after materializes as form, the aspect of materialization, customized to the specific circumstances, has in all previous typological investigations always been of special importance. Despang Architekten s very first kindergarten answering to an unpredictable demographic development with a steel skeleton with reversible brick skin with mortar less stacked bond, the ILMASI school tailored to the necessity of multi- sensatory addressing of the mentally disabled children with solid wood tectonics, the Ilsede school with a thermally regulative concrete exoskeleton externally and internally as thermal massing filled with bricks and most recently the postfossil kindergarten for the City of Hannover in cellulose insulated wood frame tectonics with further development of the ILMASI Thermowood faade.
The kindergarten in Gttingen is influenced by the sensitivity towards the aspect of thermal mass, resulting in a critical reflection of the previous prototypes on the one hand, on the other by the geographical relocation of the architects besides Munich to the warmer Elb-Florence Dresden and the office blocks away from the life/work place of Karl May and synchronized the research platform in Tucson Arizona USA, where the animal world in the green desert over the day hiding underground exemplifies the potential of geothermal cooling for the human being.
Le Corbusiers research of the monol houses came back to the memory of the architects as his investigation of an ephemeral live in / with nature as the female house under the cloudy skies , which he researched parallel to the more known domino house as the ethereal principle of the male house under the Mediterranean sun.
In harmony with the specific external factors the project was supposed to be a building , which acts natural and bioclimatic and besides the existential exposure to the sun feels solid and comfy as thermally self-regulating by the winter-wise solarly harvested and in the summer through night cooling captured energy which it gains, stores and releases it in a delayed way.
To make this principal didactically comprehensible the architects looked for a tectonic system / materiality which with most minimal budget creates the most maximized architectonical and environmental performance, which was found in a stereotomic prefab concrete system with exposed air distribution ducts.
As a kid of parts the prefabricated walls and ceilings have been assembled on site in a manner that there are no production and very few element joints, which gives the inner surfaces of the walls an amazingly abstract quality, which distinguishes them from the rough cast in place concrete of the pioneering years of the campus.
Light as the classic element in architecture to make monolithic buildings feel lighter has been used in form of a sequence of skylights in the hallway to accentuate the entrances to the playrooms as a natural method of wayfinding to optimize orientation and to let the light wash down the concrete and make the concrete appear velvety.
The sequence of rooms is classic it ins arrangement regarding the effective zoning and intent to make a virtue out of the given challenge of a tight budget my means of layering of space, which with increasing room heights beginning with the serving rooms as for Administration, Passive House technology and restrooms, over the connecting linear circulation hallway multi used as transmitting physical activity space to the served narrow/high sleeping- and bathrooms and wide/high living rooms which with their floor to ceiling glazing blur the boundaries between inside and outside.
The transitioning between inside and outside is being supported through the extension of the 20 cm thick monolithic concrete walls to the outside, which is framed by the insertion of a top and bottom beam of equal dimension. The elements are multifunctional: seating alcoves at the bottom, balustrades and guardrails at the top and carrier of a dynamic textile shading screen, which mounted flush with the front of the frames are with that spaced from the thermally conditioning triple pane Passive House glazing and which control the summer overheating through stack effect supported cooling with shades down which then still maintain the unobstructed view of the children into their outdoor garden space.
The floor plan arrangement is slightly subtly radial to support the similar dynamic move in section and geometrically helps for most parts with the acoustics in compensating for the hard surfaces of the solar glazing and the thermal massing concrete walls. As additional acoustical support the ceilings are clad with left natural wood-wool panels.
Wood in form of oiled spruce is the unified material for all the interior insertions. Doors are set in flush with the concrete walls and all the glass touches the concrete in a frameless way to support the notion of a continuous flow of space.
The spaces are grounded on a floor of a new spin of the classic kindergarten floor material of Linoleum, which DLW Armstrong as the vintage manufacturer of the Bauhaus linoleum created the product LinoArt and the chosen model of Firmament Black creates the impression of a star sprinkled sky reflecting in a lake at night, on which the colorful individual carpets with child activities feel like creative islands.
In inspiration and interpretation of R.M. Schindlers Kings Road House all surfaces show their authentic textures and colors without make-up to best explain to the child user the different and specific functions of the building components, as the storage of warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer in the monolithic mineral walls, the absorption of noise in the texture of the wood wool ceilings and the robust yet elastic property of the wood for the openings and wardrobes, all to provide a most neutral background to allow for the most effective celebration of the childrens creativity , represented by their crafted artifacts in variety and diversity of form and color.
The intention and hope was to have all affected creatures experience the new building in the most true sense as a natural and stimulating part of their living environment, foremost the children and their teachers, as well as the prairie dog and the professors on their walks through their universe, the green lung of the campus of the Georg-August- University of Gttingen.


Project Type


Justus-von-Liebig Weg 6, Gttingen, 37077,