iPabo University of Applied Sciences trains students to become teachers in primary education. Mecanoo designed a comprehensive building overhaul and extension which encourages planned and spontaneous meetings amongst students and staff.
The building is designed according to the principle of a learning landscape and the emphasis is on the integration of three different zones: knowledge-sharing in classes and project rooms; enhanced concentration in offices and quiet areas; and social interactions in the entrance hall, restaurant and atrium. The atmosphere is warm, comfortable and inviting – people are connected with each other and their surroundings.
The new entrance hall, with its large glazed facade, has a strong visual connection to the neighbourhood, making the school a part of the community. The entrance hall offers views of the three-storey central atrium which connects two building wings, creating circulation routes in place of previously dead-end passageways. An auditorium and restaurant are located on the ground floor of the atrium. Freely cantilevered above are the library and study areas.
The facade consists of vertical wooden slats mounted on a black surface, providing an interesting visual unity between existing and new build parts. Large quantities of daylight filter through the glazed facade, blurring the difference between inside and outside.