Constructor: Bischöfliches Generalvikariat Essen
Architects: Hahn Helten + Assoziierte, Aachen
Adress: Brückstraße 108
Photos: Christian Richters, Münster
The Mariengymnasium in the Werden quarter was founded by Pastor Cöllmann in 1858 as a Catholic School for Upper-Class Girls and ranks among the oldest schools in Essen. In the year 2007, the episcopalian girls’ school moved into the new building on Brückstraße, in the direct vicinity of the St. Ludgerus Basilica and the Folkwang University. The Aachen architectural office Hahn Helten built a three-storey solitaire there which sensitively fits into the valley location and its vegetation: the structure running parallel to the slope leaves open the view of the Basilica which dominates the cityscape and, at the same time, accentuates the flood plane between the forested slopes. The building takes up the landscape relief and continues it like a built topography: out of the slope of the Kellerwald, a base of natural stone develops which houses the underground sports hall of the school, among other things. In contrast to the massive base of gabions – wire baskets filled with stones – the façade of the upper floors was designed with satin-finished glass and aluminium panels. The main entrance is in the large inner courtyard which is accessible from the Porthofplatz situated east of it. Here, in the protected courtyard, two building components particularly strike the eye: the meditation room raised by one level and the largely closed library cube. Inside, the auditorium stretching over three levels is the centre of school life. Around it are grouped the rooms for music and literature which, if needed, can be completely opened up. Access to the rest of the classrooms is via a system of hallways from which a variety of views into the inner courtyard can be enjoyed. Here the yellow linoleum floor, which has been installed in the upper hallways as well as in the classrooms, provides colour accents.