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Educational Centre in Aschersleben

Since 1912 the centre of the small town of Aschersleben has been dominated by an oversized factory building the locals call the ‘Hecknerriese’ (Heckner’s Giant). The name comes from the man who built it, the architect Hans Heckner, who was able to erect several remarkable buildings in this town right into the 1930s. His idiom is reminiscent of Theodor Fischer’s works and is based on the concept of ‘Weiterbauen’ (continuity), which reflects aspects of today’s architectural discussions.

In recent years the large factory site had degenerated into a vacant lot – until the town decided to demolish part of the factory building, to convert its main section into an educational centre and to add an extension to it. To that end, Aschersleben had announced a competition which was to simultaneously promote the urban restructuring of the entire site with larger open spaces. These were intended to serve as the basis for a planned garden show.

We designed a long building wing extending perpendicularly to the old building, which enabled the creation of a park that bridges the district from south to north. This is the actual linking element between the town’s two large park areas, which could now be united into a continuous greenbelt.

Unfortunately, the concept of uniting three sorts of school in one structure could not be completely realised. During the planning and building, this situation led to constant corrections. What remains remarkable, however, is the notion of reinforcing the centre of a shrinking town – an excellent decision both politically and in terms of urban planning. It affords the community spaces for education which would have turned out to be less generous had the current regulations on school building been followed.

The huge dimensions of the ‘Hecknerriese’ permitted the installation of a central hall linking the individual floors via galleries. Two types of school now share this space. The new wing contains additional space for creative rooms and a gallery, which is devoted to prints of the painter Neo Rauch, who spent some of his childhood in Aschersleben.

A characteristic feature of the extension is the rhythmic rise and fall of its roofline, which mediates between the large factory building to the south and the town houses lying to the north at the other end of the district. As two school units are also accommodated there, a new educational campus has come about by dint of the way the extension has been placed.

Unfortunately the old façade could not be integrated seamlessly into the new concept because the preservation authorities are still captive to 20th century notions, wanting to see the old and the new separated by a visible joint. Apart from that, the quality of Heckner’s architecture has become visible again through the careful renovation. The extension’s façades have been covered with a sand-coloured, coarse render coat in order to produce a harmonious connection with the warm grey tones of the surrounding buildings.

Client:
Stadt Aschersleben

Architects:
Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei, Stuttgart

Team:
Katja Pütter, Anne Egenhofer, Arno Schone, Christian Wendlandt, Marco Garcia-Barth

Project Management:
Hartewig Mölle Consult, Magdeburg

Structural Engineering:
Ingenieurbüro Fankhänel und Müller, Leipzig

Competition:
2006 – 1st prize

Construction period:
2008 – 2010

Gross floor area:
12159 square meters (total gross floor area)
7704 square meters (old building)
4455 square meters (new building)

Location:
Wilhelmstraße 22, 06449 Aschersleben, Germany

Awards

best architects 11 Award

Engere Wahl zum Architekturpreis des Landes Sachsen-Anhalt 2010

Publications

BAUKULTUR Zeitschrift des DAI
5 | 2016

Top Objekt 19
Hagemeister, 2015

Costruire in Laterizio
4 | 2014

Lederer, Arno / Ragnarsdóttir, Jórunn / Oei, Marc (Hg.):
Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei 1.
Jovis Verlag Berlin 2012

Klaus-Jürgen Schneider, Georg Sahner, Ronald Rast (Hg.):
Mauerwerksbau aktuell 2012.
Berlin 2012

Metamorphose
2 | 2011

Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung (Hg.):
Architektur in Deutschland. Deutscher Architekturpreis 2011.
Berlin 2011

Costruire in Laterizio
325 | 2010

Bauwelt
17-18 | 2010

Werk, Bauen + Wohnen
11 | 2010

Deutsche Bauzeitung
8 | 2010

Deutsches Architektenblatt
4 | 2010

Baumeister
1 | 2010

Best Architects Documentation
Düsseldorf 2010

Photos

Roland Halbe, Stuttgart