The new primary school running along Infanteriestrasse in Munich’s “creative quarter” caters for up to 500 children, with five classes in each grade. The building incorporates a double-sized sports hall, a childcare facility, and underground parking. The five “learning houses” have an open structure, allowing the space to be used in a variety of ways and providing a vibrant setting for learning. The building itself contains over 7,000 m2 of floor space and was designed in accordance with Munich’s “learning house” concept. The “house for children” can provide care throughout the day for 100 children between 0 and 6 years old. A green educational setting in the creative quarter The city of Munich is planning a new urban quarter on the site formerly occupied by the Luitpoldkaserne barracks, which is notable for its heritage historic buildings and abundant green spaces. The quarter will create an attractive blend of opportunities for living, working, culture, and knowledge. The surroundings of the new school are heterogeneous, featuring everything from small parcels of land for housing to university facilities and commercial buildings. Embedded in the green outdoor areas The buildings on Infanteriestrasse clearly foster the school’s sense of identity. This begins with the sports hall to the north, followed by the three-story elementary school, which is slightly set back from the street and concludes with the adjoining childcare center. The heights of the individual structures vary according to a rhythmic pattern. This variety differentiates the edges of the ensemble, with the flanks also shielding the buildings and exterior areas from the noise of Schwere-Reiter-Strasse. The plaza in front of the building is lined with mature trees, integrating the school into the neighborhood. The three different functional parts of the ensemble can all be accessed separately from this forecourt. As a result, the sports hall and the cafeteria with its integrated multifunctional room can be utilized outside regular school hours. When visitors enter the school from the main entrance, they find themselves in an atrium that is flooded with light, leading through to the school’s extensive exterior spaces and leisure areas. One wing of the building juts out to create a significant overhang, providing a space below where students are able to move around freely in bad weather. A playground bike track encourages children to engage in more physical activity. The running track, long-jump pit, climbing wall, grassy area, and all-weather sports pitch invite the students to play and have fun. These newly defined exterior spaces anchor school life within the local community and stimulate the quarter. Munich’s concept of the “learning house” The school’s pedagogical concept is based on the notion of the “learning house,” which has been developed by the Bavarian capital, Munich, that will satisfy the need for a new and modern kind of learning, teaching, and living. This envisages small-scale units where different age groups come together to create a “mini school.” The Infanterieschule, with its five parallel classes in each grade, is thus subdivided into five “learning houses” of up to 100 students each. A school building to enhance interaction The school has a star-shaped floor plan, with three wings arranged around a central staircase that functions as an atrium. It is not only the heart of the building but also its vertical and horizontal axis, where people see through to specific areas such as the cafeteria and the exterior space. A distinctively designed yellow balustrade marks the center of the school and spirals down to the first floor. The daylight entering from above is reflected on the steps and edging, then directed downwards to create a light-filled space of movement and communication. All the communal functions are on the first floor: the cafeteria and a multifunctional room which can be joined together to create a single space, plus the kitchen facilities, the staffroom, the school administration department, a music room, and the sports hall. The five learning houses, each of which has floor space of around 800 m2, are located on the second and third stories. Every learning house has four classrooms, two rooms for all-day supervision, a team room, and two group/inclusion rooms, all arranged around a shared hub. Not only can this central lounge area be used for assorted recess, school, and leisure activities, it also promotes interaction. The use of discreet, pale tones in combination with fair-faced concrete and untreated wood gives the teaching spaces a pleasant and calm atmosphere. Two classrooms are connected with each other via an additional intermediate space; large “display windows” offer a glimpse of what is going on in lessons. Separate entrance areas give each of the learning houses their own unmistakable sense of identity. On the second floor a roof landscape covers part of the sports center roof. This airy site features the school’s garden, providing a perfect setting for open-air practical demonstrations. Moreover, the cozy seating under the awning is perfect for chilling. Color concept of the facade The concept for the building’s materials and color scheme evolved from the surrounding greenery with its magnificent stock of mature trees. The light-green opaque sections of the enclosed curtain wall in three graduated tones of green reflect the changing colors of the deciduous trees. Throughout the ensemble, the open joints are left clearly visible as they playfully traverse the different stories and functional areas. The textures and painted sections shine to a greater or lesser extent depending on the light conditions, giving the facade a vibrant, dynamic character. The fire escape balconies, the wooden canopies and the light shelves integrated into the façade create a horizontal segmentation and draw the different parts of the building together.
Behnisch Architekten was founded in 1989 and works out of five offices – Stuttgart, Munich, Boston, Los Angeles and Weimar. The firm enjoys a global reputation for high-quality architecture that integrates environmental responsibility, creativity, and public purpose and produces a rich variety of buildings mainly in Europe and North America. The partners and staff share a vision to push the boundaries of high performance, 21st-century architecture that respects user needs, ecological resources, and local cultures. From the beginning, Behnisch has prioritized the social dimension of architecture and the quality of the urban environment. Its projects respond to the material and spiritual needs of people. In over 30 years, the firm has created a diverse portfolio of projects that is attuned to the culture and climate of place and demonstrates new ways for occupants to inhabit their surroundings.