Inclusion in School Buildings United, Together

Learning campus in Osterholz-Scharmbeck
Learning campus in Osterholz-Scharmbeck | Photo: Yohan Zerdoun

Inclusiveness in the school sector demands a re-thinking in the planning and design processes of schools. The transfer of education, architecture and urban-planning intertwine in this process.

In the 1990s, slogans such as “Eine Schule für Alle,” “Lernen und Teilhaben in einer Schule der Vielfalt,” (i.e. One school for all, Learning and participation in a diverse school) were the new guiding principles for improvement in the quality of education in Germany. These demands found a platform in the Index für Inklusion, set up in 2003. Integration educators Iris Boban and Andreas Hinz of Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg formulated the Index, orienting themselves on the experience of British colleagues.

On behalf of the Montag Foundations (Bonn), Barbara Brokamp and Karl Heinz Imhäuser have systematically further developed the concept of inclusion into a community-oriented cultural and educational landscape. Of primary concern here was always a re-thinking of the planning processes of schooling, which affected not only the transfer of education, but architecture and the urban-planning context as well. The re-orientation towards the inclusive school really gained momentum in 2008, when the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  came into force. However, considerable differences still exist in the various Bundesländer as far as its implementation is concerned.

Trans-generational model for everyone

For example, the City of Osterholz-Scharmbeck to the north of Bremen has systematically dealt with the effects of demographic change during the run-up to the new construction of an inclusive learning campus. The new facility was built as a trans-generational model for all citizens both in terms of content as well as urban-planning considerations. The secondary school with learning centre on the campus, a media centre and an educational centre are combined with sports and recreational facilities into a flexible educational landscape for everyone. Kister Scheithauer Gross Architekten and Stadtplaner together with Feldschnieders + Kister Architekten BDA, Henke + Blatt Landschaftsarchitekten and Wolff + Partner Ingenieure designed the complex.

Places of community

With its new construction of Berufsbildenden Schulen (BBS III/ secondary vocational schools), the City of Oldenburg is both following a new set of guiding principles and paving the way for a future path to education and careers for young people with and without disabilities together. Over 3,200 students from agricultural, nursing, educational, restaurant, nutritional and health professions will be accommodated in the new building, which will be completed in 2015. The trans-generational concept  pays special attention to working together and learning from one another. The project was developed through the co-operation of Dohle + Lohse Architekten and chora blau Landschaftsarchitektur. It will be realised by means of architecture with barrier-free accessible learning spaces and common rooms.
 
  • Lerncampus in Osterholz-Scharmbeck Foto: Yohan Zerdoun
    Lerncampus in Osterholz-Scharmbeck
  • Lerncampus in Osterholz-Scharmbeck Foto: Yohan Zerdoun
    Lerncampus in Osterholz-Scharmbeck
  • Lerncampus in Osterholz-Scharmbeck Foto: Yohan Zerdoun
    Lerncampus in Osterholz-Scharmbeck
  • Berufsbildende Schulen Oldenburg Visualisierung: Dohle + Lohse
    Berufsbildende Schulen Oldenburg
  • Berufsbildende Schulen Oldenburg Visualisierung: Dohle + Lohse
    Berufsbildende Schulen Oldenburg
  • Berufsbildende Schulen Oldenburg Visualisierung: Dohle + Lohse
    Berufsbildende Schulen Oldenburg
  • Grundschule Westerbek-Sassenburg Foto: Werner Huthmacher
    Grundschule Westerbek-Sassenburg
  • Grundschule Westerbek-Sassenburg Foto: Werner Huthmacher
    Grundschule Westerbek-Sassenburg
  • Grundschule Westerbek-Sassenburg Foto: Werner Huthmacher
    Grundschule Westerbek-Sassenburg
The ground floor is equipped with an orientation system for visually impaired and blind persons, and open up the way to large inner courtyards. They are places of community and are in use as a “Marktplatz” (market square), “Schlemmerhof” (gourmet courtyard) and common space with vertical gardens. As in a production school, students from the bakery, confectionery and flower shop produce and sell their own products and serve food and drinks from the lunch kitchen in the two inner courtyards and teaching restaurants. The third inner courtyard, with vertically growing vines and climbing plants, serves as a social and break area. A part of the school also serves as a day crêche for young children. It offers care for 15 children of students and teachers and at the same time serves as a facility for future educators.

Visual, haptic and spatial qualities

Inclusive education is also in the programme of the Westerbeck-Sassenburg primary school in the eastern Lower Saxony. The new building at the outskirts of the village with its extensive outdoor area lies completely level with the broad, open meadow landscape. The building, completed in 2012 by Augustin Frank Architekten, derives its unmistakeable profile from its unconventional roof form with its striking corrugations in the entrance area as well as from its colourful circumferential parapet wall of synthetic panels printed with a colourful pixelated motif. What seems like a variety of abstract colour formations when viewed close up reveals itself as a blooming meadow from a distance. New visual, haptic and spatial qualities have been realised in the building’s interior with a striking colour concept, large exposed-concrete surfaces and a great deal of glass. A high entrance hall offers both room for events and for a planned cafeteria.

Demanding equality, fairness and appreciation for all is a strategy that has lasting effects on society. Architecture supports this concept, gives it shape and space.