View from the former secondary school to the new building with the new staff room for the teachers

Bridge Building
To unite the two existing separate schools into the so-called Bertha-von-Suttner School, BOARD proposed a 120m long and 1 floor high bridge building that connects both schools spatially and functionally. Thus, in the future, it will be possible for the students, teachers and the school staff, to get barrier-free from one building to another and without the need to leave the building and to be exposed to the weather conditions.


Address Formation
The new building will be clearly identifiable from all directions and provide the new united school a specific identity, an address and a welcoming character. However, due to its straightforward design, it will not force itself in the foreground, but above all symbolize the new unity of the schools.

Sports Areas
Since the sports areas between the schools already function as connecting elements, BOARD added another ‘sports area’ in the form of a 100m running track inside of the new building to the existing school areas. From this track a very good view of the entire sports complex and the schools will be possible. However, the 100m running track has only symbolic, decorative and artistic value and is not supposed to be used for real sports.

A 120m long and 1 floor high bridge building connects both former schools

The new building will connect the 2nd floor of the former secondary school to the 1st floor of the former upper town school. With the help of the existing staircases an internal network of paths will be created, whereby all areas of the new united school will be reached easily on foot in the future and a school with short distances will be created.

Between the two former schools and directly under the multifunctional room of the new building, BOARD proposed a central school square: the Bertha-von-Suttner Square

Bertha-von-Suttner Square
At the middle of the existing stairway between the two schools and directly under the multifunctional room of the new building, BOARD proposed a central school square: the Bertha-von-Suttner Square. With a kiosk, a seating area, a place to rent sports and play equipment, and a new lighting, the square will additionally contribute to the growing together of the two schools. In addition, a wheelchair and bicycle ramp will be added to the stairway.

View of the new building and the Bertha-von-Suttner Square from the existing stairway

The column-free building is conceived as a flexible learning and working landscape

Learning Landscape
The column-free building is conceived as a flexible learning and working landscape. Between the rooms there are always common areas or common rooms, which allow, together with the connecting corridor, synergies between the different usages, as spaces can be grouped and expanded. In that way, social areas and rooms for independent learning and working are created.

View from the school yard of the former secondary school

The openness and transparency of the spaces can be changed flexibly over time with the help of opaque lightweight walls or transparent glass walls. If, for example, many glass walls between the rooms are used, a visually continuous learning and working strip can be created. Is a complete openness desired, a completely transparent school life can be formed without any wall.

Interior view from one of the rooms of the school administration to the multifunctional room

Education Forms
The proportions of the classrooms and the possibility of including the adjacent common areas, or group rooms, allow the most diverse forms of teaching. The possibilities range from the traditional teacher lecture to alternative forms of teaching with an open classroom, where students can devote themselves independently to a learning project.

Interior view of the connecting corridor of the new building

Title: A Real Connection: Bridge and Square
Project: A connection to unite two separate schools in the German city of Geesthacht
Date: August 2016
Type: Open 2-Phase Architecture Competition
Organizer: Municipality of Geesthacht
Participants: 55
Ranking: 2. Prize
Location: Geesthacht, Germany
Site: Dösselbuschberg 40, 21502 Geesthacht
Programme: School building
Surface: 1.000m2
Status: Competition
Client: Municipality of Geesthacht
Team: Bernd Upmeyer, Katerina Petrocheilou, Apostolia L. Sofiadi, Albert Sánchez Perarnau