Gorch Fock School
Extension Building
Hamburg Blankenese

  • Clients:
    Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, Schulbehörde
  • Architect:
    BRT Architekten,
    Bothe Richter Teherani
  • Reinforced concrete structure produced with double-curved formwork
  • Composite steel columns
  • Reconstruction and renovation of the existing building,
    demolition and rebuilding of flights of stairs
  • GFA: 1,750 m²
    Time: 2007 - 2009
    Building costs: c. 6 mill. EUR
  • Our scope:
    structural engineering

A curved castle in the air.

"How can the house stay standing on those thin and sloping pillars?" This is what the schoolchildren in Blankenese asked when the ambitious new building took shape before their eyes. It is said that school is where one learns for life. And at the Gorch Fock primary school they even received an object lesson in statics.

Naturally, the building stands solidly and securely on its thin, slanting pillars. And naturally the floor slabs that project far beyond the pillars also hold up. And naturally the new building is sufficiently braced against the assailing horizontal forces, even without walls. However, the construction of the building did require some static tricks. The materials employed included higher-strength concrete, composite steel pillars, structural frameworks composed of pillars and roof slabs, and optimised sound insulation systems.

The new connecting building between the existing brick building and the new construction will be used as a multi-purpose space for school productions. It appears to consist solely of facades. The extremely slender eight-metre-high pillars are scarcely noticeable. And yet these bear the weight of the concrete roof slab and the lateral access corridor. The existing building was also modified and optimised. Flights of stairs were demolished and rebuilt while the life of the school went on as normal.

Later on, maybe some of the pupils will recall their impressions during the exciting period of construction and, on completing school, will decide to take up studies in construction engineering.