Joseph Müller School

Location Groß Düngen, Germany
Year 2021
Status Closed competition
Client Joseph Müller Schule

School with full-time facilities, library, workshops, canteen, forum and 2 learning clusters

Area 3.150 m2


Jola Starzak, Dawid Strębicki, Barbara Tamborska, Barbara Nila
In collaboration with Ch+ Architekci and Pracownia Architektury Krajobrazu, Marta Tomasiak 

House, playground or small city – these three terms describe the most important aspects of the new school building in Groß Düngen. For the school it means that sometimes it has to meet extremely different demands: on one hand it should be a shelter, a quiet place where one can feel at home, a place of rest, away from the surrounding world’s sensations. On the other hand, building should offer space for a wide range of activities – both in groups and the individual ones, developing pupils physically and mentally; activities which let pupils acquire new skills easily. Space plays the third leading role in education, next to the teachers who inspire to achieve great things and the stimulating contacts with other pupils. Children spend at school almost as much time as at their homes. Therefore, it is important to create a friendly environment that has a positive influence on their development and encourages them to practice but also to take some rest and focus. The aim is to provide every child with space to learn, live, practice and develop themselves at school which embraces their individual personal development.



The robust, compact form, well-balanced proportion of windows, two patios and covered terraces that surround the school not only make the building very economical in exploitation and its management, but they also give the structure a strong identity. Clear and simple structure placed almost in the middle of the plot, creates a spacious plaza on the east side. Rectangular shape of the building lets organizing main functions along the façade, allowing the sunlight into the rooms. Interior is divided into three parts. The middle one serves as a multifunctional, communal „Inner-street” with access to natural lighting via two patios. Service functions such as sanitary rooms, technical spaces and chair storage are also located here.



On the east side of the building, main entrance covered with roof leads through the foyer with a view of a green patio and then to a spacious and representative inner courtyard. The building‘s core is an open forum with a stage (multi-purpose room), music room and library; which is enclosed by two green patios with open stairs. Here is the heart of the building, which offers the school community a wide range of uses. Above the forum, on the upper floor are the rooms for all-day use. The core of the building is more than a circulation area, it is also an open, vivid and light-flooded place that attracts all its users. Along the north and south façades, the ground floor also houses the cafeteria and kitchen for 120 children, rooms for other specialist classes (work, cooking) and the teachers' and administration rooms. The clear, twofold symmetrical geometry of the building enables the upper floor to be divided into an east and a west wing. The functional concept of this area is based on a distribution of classrooms and group rooms around an open space – ‘marketplace’ in the middle of each cluster. The two clusters are designed as a learning environment offering enough space for changing forms of teaching and learning. The design and furnishing of the classrooms, as well as the indoor climate, promote communication and focus on teaching and learning. Each cluster is represented by its own unit and consists of four classrooms, each with a cloakroom, four group rooms, ‘marketplace’ space, individual working places and toilets. In the central part of the upper floor between the two clusters, there is a space for a room along the north-south axis for all-day use with afternoon care, integration rooms, kitchen, storage and relaxation room. The patios allow vertical visual connections and easy orientation in the building. The stairs along the patios, on both sides of the forum open up the way to all the levels and areas. The necessary escape routes are secured through direct exits on the ground floor and external stairs on the upper floor. Thanks to the clear structure of the building, all rooms have direct access to the covered outdoor terraces and from there to the school garden. The school's functional program was deliberately organized to protect the neighbouring residential areas from noise pollution. To ensure maximum of natural lighting in the entire building, all rooms have large windows or - like individual working places and afternoon care - receive their daylight via patios and skylights.


School and context
The main entrance to the school is located on the east facade. The cantilevered first floor with terrace form a deep arcade in front of the actual entrance. This covered outdoor area, together with the playground and the patios inside the building, form the main axis of the complex. The central entrance allows easy access to the school for children who arrive on foot, by bike, by school bus, or are dropped off by their parents driving a car. In addition, there is a separate side entrance to the workshop and music room on the ground floor, allowing use of these rooms even when the school building is closed. The location of the new school building fits well the position of the existing road B 243, where the school bus stop is located and where the existing parking lot to the east of the sports hall will be adapted as kiss and ride area. For pedestrians, there are two other possible entrances from Joseph-Müller-Straße and Wagnerstraße, which either lead directly to the main entrance or allow to enter the building via the south school yard. Bicycle parking spaces are located near the main entrance to the school building. Additionally, bicycles can also be parked temporarily within the front yard. A new small parking lot is available for teachers on Joseph-Müller-Straße. Delivery for the cafeteria and waste disposal are executed via separate Southwest driveway.


The design of the rooms creates a pleasant, helpful, and flexible basis for the daily activities of the school community, offering the opportunity to spend time in groups or to take some rest alone. Therefore, there aren‘t many additional elements in the equipment of the interiors, however it is important for them to be made of natural materials and to focus on aspects such as user-friendliness, functionality, durability and timelessness.