Heinrich Hoffmann School & Kindergarten (DE)

The competition area for the new building of the Heinrich Hoffmann School with day-care centre is located in a historically important part of Darmstadt and is one of the last significant open areas in the city centre. Attractive green spaces and numerous architectural monuments characterise the popular residential quarter around the Kapellplatz. In this sensitive context, the new building is set in the urban space with an exciting geometric form. The school’s recessing three-story volume with several kinks forms together with the two-story compact solitaire of the kindergarten an ensemble with a protected inner courtyard. The graded construction method and the building settlement open up numerous views and paths to the surroundings.
The entrances to the school are on the funnel-shaped sides of the building in the north and east. The foyer connects the entrances and also provides access to the public courtyard. The kindergarten to the south is also oriented towards the playground.
The ground floor houses also the public functions such as the canteen, library and administration. The lowered sports hall dedicated to school and club sports is located in the southern part of the building and has its own semi-public entrance.
The cluster zones with learning and education areas are located on the upper floors. The western two-story part accommodates the special education classes.
The varied spatial concept offers different recreation and retreat zones for learning, relaxation and communication. Incised inner courtyards divide the core zones and can also be used as “green classrooms”. The kindergarten is organized as a 2-storey building. The nursery and group rooms face south-east and have generous, protected open spaces.
The façade is divided into a transparent plinth area and an overlying “educational body” clad in wood. The combination of glass, wood and mineral surfaces reacts to the surroundings, especially to the green space and the city wall. Wood also plays an important role for the interior, with closed and transparent zones alternating depending on the function.
The supporting structure of the school is designed as a hybrid construction – a reinforced concrete skeleton on ground floor and basement combined with a lightweight wooden structure on the two upper floors. The load-bearing grid results in a flexible layout of the classrooms.

Client: City of Darmstadt
Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller
Competition: 2019 (closed realization competition), 2nd prize
Surface: 7.680 m²
Capacity: 3-stream elementary school with nursery and sports hall

landscape: Storch Landscape Architecture, Dresden /// visualization and plans: © Dietrich | Untertrifaller