‘Vetschau im Spreewald’ is a town in the Oberspreewald-Lausitz district in southern Brandenburg. With currently around 8,200 inhabitants, it is the fourth largest city in the district. The city of Vetschau intends to develop a sustainable education and family center, in the field of sports and leisure, at the school center “Dr. Albert Schweitzer”. The multi-purpose building, located in between the buildings of the secondary and elementary school “Dr. Albert Schweitzer”, is to be developed as an identity-creating cultural center of the school, fitting into the small-town architecture of the surrounding area.
CIRCLE / CYLINDER
The new multi-purpose building of the Dr. Albert Schweitzer School in Vetschau takes shape in the non-hierarchical and non-directional base form of a circle, welcoming visitors from the city and from the school likewise.
The form of the building provides a unique quality of a maximum area with a minimum perimeter.
The cylindric shape references the Slavic castle Raddusch, which was built in the second half of the 9th century and served as a place of refuge for the inhabitants of the surrounding villages during military conflicts.
The main uses of multi-purpose hall and library are spatially combined in the center of the building and are representing the openness towards the city on the one side and the school campus on the other.
The symbolic skylight above the multifunction room creates a 5m room height, with its design referencing the “double church” idea where a duplicated gable allows for a folding wall below the middle beam.
The space can be used simultaneously for both the canteen and performance space, separated by a folding partition, but can also be used as a single large space in the case of bigger events.
A small, round courtyard illuminates both the library and the foyer, bringing nature inside the building.
ACCESS and FOYER
The main entrance is barrier-free from the southern end of the car park. Upon entering the vestibule, direct access to the rehearsal and learning room for the musical society is available. Passing the vestibule, the central foyer opens up to the cloakroom, stage, multifunctional hall, library, courtyard, and restrooms. The kitchen is reachable from the northern part of the building, via the fire truck access road, and is separated from normal traffic. The multifunctional hall can also be directly entered from the school campus, paired with additional wardrobes and washbasins for hygiene. On the two other entrances, similar facilities are provided, enabling for separate handling of school and public operations.
The wooden structure is standing on a continuous floor slab with a flat foundation. The solid floor slab is insulated on the underside and remains visible as the base layer of the volume. The primary construction consists of solid wood columns and glued timber trusses, which hold a ceiling slab of cross-laminated timber. The cross-laminated timber transfers the loads into 2 axes and allows for large. The solid outer walls are also made of radially segmented cross-laminated timber elements, insulated on the outside with wood wool paneling and plastered to allow diffusion.
Building with wood is sustainable and climate-neutral in two respects. In the case of wooden constructions, the amount of bound carbon can be counted with a negative prefix for the construction phase and can therefore be offset against the greenhouse gas emissions during disposal. The large roof area has the potential to discreetly expand the solar areas of the school campus if required.