Carl Bolle Elementary School



The spy in the shimmering cloak

The development of language skills and physical activity are the main foci at this sports-oriented school located in the troubled urban district of Berlin-Moabit. In the process of converting Carl Bolle Elementary into a full-time school, the Baupiloten have reconstructed the building’s ground floor into a leisure area.

Sensitive listening

The listed building was originally designed by architect Ludwig Hoffmann in 1903.

Reading benches / postern

From the basis of a children’s spy story, various spaces were developed to promote communication, movement, and investigation.

Spy wall

The enhanced usage possibilities provide the children listening areas, reading retreats, and climbing walls which lead to elevated observation posts.

Wall of disguises

These spaces also allow the children to explore scientific phenomena in a playful environment.

Exploratory Learning The multifaceted spatial design stimulates the children’s perception. The various sub-spaces promote self-initiative, orientation, communication, social interaction, physical experience, and aesthetic sensibility. The leisure area provides room for exploration and experimentation, allowing the children to employ all of their senses in developing not only their own self image, but also an image of their peers and of the world. The drawing depicts the phenomenological aspects of the “Spy with the shimmering cloak” and the various communication possibilities that can be discovered when the children slip into its investigative world. Exploration of the phenomena reflects the educational content of a science studies class. In this sense, an important goal is the integration of these experiences into the formal learning environment, where the children can then reflect on their investigations.

Start of Planning October 2006, Completion Fall 2008

Form follows kids’ fiction Within the framework of a model building workshop, the pupils of Carl Bolle Elementary developed various worlds of activity and communication, including the “Summer Labyrinth”, “Climbing Forest”, the “Secret Leisure Garden”, and the “Snowworld”. These imaginary worlds provided foundational ideas for use, conception, and especially atmosphere. The worlds also expressed the children’s desire for both active play spaces and areas of retreat and relaxation from the hustle and bustle of the school day. The spy story, developed together with the children, provided the conceptual foundation for the design of the leisure area and incorporates the pupils’ diverse visions into a unified whole. The spatial manifestations of the children’s fictional worlds can be altered and augmented on a daily basis.

Susanne Hofmann Architects
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