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Outstanding primary school with sports surfaces: colourful features in "pea green"


A newly completed primary school in Munich's new "Arnulfpark" district applies a modern educational concept that is reflected in the layout of the building. The four study groups range across all ages, each one being identified by its own special "Lernhaus" (house of learning). The architects and planners from Hess | Talhof | Kusmierz deliberately restricted the construction materials to exposed concrete, wood and glass, thus leaving the children with plenty of scope for creativity rather than overwhelming them with a dominant design. The only coloured features are the running track and the all-weather pitch with pea green synthetic surfaces from Polytan, as well as pale pink fencing and pale pink facade elements. In January 2015 the primary school in Arnulfpark received the prestigious "DAM Award for Architecture in Germany 2014" from the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt in recognition of its exemplary architectural and spatial qualities.

With the ground having first been broken in 2004, the new "Arnulfpark" development on the site of the former container rail depot was largely finished by 2014, providing new housing for around 2,000 people and jobs for some 7,600 people. The two-storey primary school has daycare facilities and extends along Marlene-Dietrich-Straße on the south edge of the school premises; the front of the building juts out to protect the entrance from the elements on Helmholtzstraße to the east. The northern section of the building ground was set aside for extensive recreational areas, sports facilities and greenery, whilst the caretaker's detached residence is accommodated on the western boundary of the plot at the far end of the school premises.


Houses of learning: creating identity with manageable units

All the rooms intended for communal use are located on the ground floor of the school for easy access. A break hall, the kitchen, multipurpose room, music, art and craft rooms and a sunken sports hall are accessible via a covered walkway. This covered walkway, rather more prosaically described as an access zone, runs alongside the 50-metre outdoor running track, which is thermally separated from the indoor area by a high span of uninterrupted glazing. The upper storey juts out about 8.5 metres above the running track to provide a covered area for breaks and sports. From the covered walkway, single-flight staircases lead up to the four study groups. Each study group has children of different ages and forms a manageable unit with three classrooms, one or two daycare rooms, toilets and a separate roof terrace. The terraces, which nestle between the classrooms and the daycare rooms and are also suitable for open-air lessons, were connected with the playground by outdoor stairways in the north and with each other by an exterior corridor in the south. The office and staffroom have separate entrances and are also located on the upper floor, in the area that juts out directly above the main entrance.


Outside space in keeping with the educational concept

Constant interaction between the indoor and outdoor space is a guiding principle of the educational concept and is achieved by large areas of window glazing and fixed glazing: all the classrooms and daycare rooms on the opposite side are fully glazed all the way to the respective roof terrace, thus producing views within the groups themselves. The sports hall on the lower ground floor has head space up to the ceiling of the top floor and can be viewed both from Marlene-Dietrich-Straße and from the covered walkway. Thanks to its location alongside the covered walkway, the running track is an integral part of everyday school life.


Fresh colours for the outdoor area

The generous expanse of outdoor space takes up around half of the school premises. Although situated on the north side of the plot, the playground and the sports facilities are barely overshadowed by the low building and even lower roof terraces.

The all-weather pitch has been laid in the western section of the plot, directly on Marlene-Dietrich-Straße, nestled between the school and the caretaker's residence. Pale pink wooden posts serve as ball stop fencing and pick up on the design theme of the wooden posts on the curtain wall facade and continue it along the street.

Set against the understated construction materials of exposed concrete, wood and glass, the chosen colour of the sport surfaces from Polytan was pea green. The architects particularly liked the freshness and brightness of this shade: not only does it make a striking contrast to the traditional red normally used for school sports facilities, but where the covered 50-metre track is situated it also reflects daylight into the interior of the building.

All synthetic sports surfaces from Polytan are available in numerous UV-resistant standard colours – including this bright green at the primary school. However, they vary in structure depending on where they are used: professional athletics stadiums for top international events must meet different requirements than much-used school sports facilities, for example. The durable all-purpose Polytan S sports surface was an appropriate synthetic surface in Arnulfpark. It is water-permeable, so the surfaces dry out quickly. The smooth but non-slip wear layer provides for good ball bounce behaviour on the all-weather pitch and safe sprinting on the 50-metre track. Low maintenance costs and high wear resistance round off the attributes of this surfacing.


Construction site sign:

Project name: Primary School in Arnulfpark

Address: Helmholtzstraße 6, 80636 Munich

Architecture: Hess | Talhof | Kusmierz Architekten und Stadtplaner, Munich (www.hot-architekten.de)

Landscape architecture: OK Landschaft | Büro für Landschaftsarchitektur, Munich (www.ok-landschaft.de)

Structural planning: Christoph Ackermann, Munich

Client: State Capital of Munich

Landscaping and garden design: März Garten-, Landschafts- und Sportplatzbau e.K., Dresden

Competition: First prize 2007

Construction period: 2010 to 2013 (school open since September 2012)

Gross cubic volume: 22,300 m³

Gross floor area: 5,050 m²

Useful area: 3,500 m²

Awards: DAM Award for Architecture in Germany 2014 (http://www.dam-online.de);
Concrete Architecture Award (Architekturpreis Beton) 2014 (www.architekturpreis-beton.de)

Photo: Tomislav Vukosav / Florian Holzherr

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