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Building the new Elementary School, Kaiserslautern

Facts and Figures
Company BBGS in consortium with MICKANGeneral-Bau-Gesellschaft mbH and Steffensky & Ringle
Principal Landesbetrieb LBB
Location Kaiserslautern - Germany
Type Public buildings
Runtime 09.2016 - 08.2019

Strong structure and internal quality.

Shifting 200,000t of soil.

In 2016, BBGS was awarded the contract to build Vogelweh Elementary School in Kaiserslautern. A consortium spent three years constructing the highly modern building, for a cost of EUR 28.5 million. The new school leaves nothing to be desired in terms of flexibility and accessibility. Our teams implemented the specifications of the US Forces school-building programme in every detail – even when sustainability and safety requirements made the building process somewhat demanding.

The 52,000m2 site is part of a US-owned property in south-west Kaiserslautern; the school itself has a gross floor area of 15,500m2. We shifted 200,000t of soil during the earthworks and landscaping; around a third of this was used for the new landscaping, while around 120,000t of partly contaminated earth had to be transported away and disposed of.

Reinforced structures.

Since the US military placed great value on sustainability for this project, we worked largely with regionally-sourced building materials with a high proportion of recycled material. We installed concrete containing around 97% waste material. As far as possible, we made use of light coloured materials, to give the rooms a friendlier aspect. Even the rainwater is drained sustainably: the water is collected in underground buffer systems, and gradually seeps away. Rainwater from the roofs is used to irrigate the gardens – and the green roofs also contribute to water management and a better microclimate. Our goal for the project is a Silver LEED certification.

In addition to sustainability, the US military also places considerable emphasis on safety for its buildings. To meet this requirement, BBGS built the school as a monolithic reinforced concrete structure. Glass facades and windows are reinforced with steel structures and have special triple-layer safety glazing. All ceiling suspensions are double-secured.

Construction challenge

The inside of the building complex is also worth seeing, and in particular the hub of the school building, the “Commons” – a large communal area that is connected to all the main areas of the building. The main entrance is located on the north-east side of the building and access checks will be carried out here. It is flanked by the administrative area and information centre.

The large glass-fronted north-west facade of the commons hall opens into the school’s “green classroom”, spectacularly designed to mimic a traditional amphitheatre. A stage tower is integrated into the commons. This curved building has an inclined upper edge that required particular manual skill from our formwork team. The clay tile cladding on the interior and external facades required a special building permit.

For the auxiliary campus buildings, called neighborhoods, we opted for structures similar to the main building. The communal area, consisting of a number of study studios, is a multifunctional meeting point. These studios can be extended into the communal area as needed, using mobile dividing walls. The students also have access to group areas, individual study rooms, art and music rooms and a large sports hall. An industrial kitchen built to US hygiene standards ensures that nobody need go hungry.

Once again, BBGS was able to distinguish itself and hand over a diverse project completed to the highest standards. The school benches today are filled by up to 650 students, over 25% of whom have disabilities.