Grace Hopper Comprehensive Teltow

NAK Architects


Place of learning as role model

Schools have long since become places in which not only to learn but also to live life in a broader sense. The blueprint by NAK Architects (Project management: Verena Wiederholt, Martin Kranich) for the new Grace Hopper Comprehensive, a building in the town of Teltow to the south of Berlin that radiates from a central hall, is an impressive case in point. Schooling and sports have been merged in a single three-storey structure, the tripartite, dual-purpose sports hall constituting a “submerged” single-storey entity directly connected to the school building.

The spatial scheme elaborated is at variance with the standard practice of aligning classrooms along corridors and opts instead for a fresh approach with pretensions to serving as a role model for school construction nationwide. Groups of five class or subject rooms some 860 square feet in size are clustered symmetrically around a central forum to yield a ground plan in the shape of a star. The forum is designed in such a way that it can be used for circulation purposes or use at break times and, above all, as a venue for the airing of material learnt and project work as well as for presentations.

The space’s multifunctional nature owes much to randomly positionable standing desks and stage assemblies. The ground plan is lent added structure by five light wells cut out of the building fabric that funnel daylight into the interior. Two classrooms in each tip of the star can be subdivided with the aid of mobile partitions. The idea of opening spaces up to differing forms of use by the school’s 870 pupils as opposed to confining them to a specific function is as in step with the times as is the scope for dimensional flexibility delivered.

Architecture and Object

NAK Architects, Partners f. l. t. r. Tiemo Klumpp, Grant Kelly, Arthur Numrich
Photo: © Frank Röthel

“The conceptual blueprint reflects the latest state of school construction in Germany,” the project management team Verena Wiederholt and Martin Kranich from Berlin-based NAK Architekten argues, “and creates space for modern teaching concepts, inclusive education and the beneficial incorporation of all-day schooling.”

Class-topping handles

The lynchpin of the five-storey school building is its central hall, which extends all the way up to the roof and from which all sections of the complex including the sports hall can be reached. With its bright coffered wooden ceiling, flowing gallery levels and engagingly fashioned staircase, it exudes the very modernity that underpins the thinking behind the venture as a whole. The ground floor houses the school’s dining hall and kitchen, its library, a teach-yourself centre and subject rooms for handicrafts and art complete with highly specialised timber workshops as well as a spacious function hall seating 360 people and equipped with a permanent stage.

The mould-breaking school is named after the American information scientist and computing pioneer Grace Hopper. She had the idea in the late 1940s of writing computer programs not simply in ones and zeros but in an intelligible language. She helped author programming languages and played a seminal role in developing the first computers. Her name stands for a school that has pledged itself to digital, creative, interdisciplinary learning and in the process champions inclusive education and equality.

NAK Architects looked to FSB to find the top-quality door and window handles approved for use in schools they needed. They opted for the FSB 1267 series and fitted its return counterpart FSB 1268 to doors with the requirements for schools in mind. These include ensuring that any edges, bends and projections on internal appointments are designed in such a way as to prevent pupils being harmed. The handles are in Blasted Aluminium Dark Bronze Anodised and boast enhanced resistance to scratching.

Object Details

Fotos: © Philipp Jester


Grace-Hopper-Gesamtschule Teltow

Mahlower Str. 146,
14513 Teltow,

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