As we explained in our previous articles on the Baupiloten, this is a group of students at the architectural faculty of the TU Berlin, that produce real life projects under the supervision of founder, Suzanne Hoffman. In this fourth featured project, the Baupiloten create an all-day âhome-away-from-homeâ for grade-schoolers
TheÂ Baupiloten â together with the schoolchildren â expanded upon the concept of a comfortable learning environment to include the schoolâs hallways and classrooms. Until recently, the hallways of the school building (designed by Ludwig Hoffmann in 1915) embodied the sterile and authoritarian educational atmosphere of the early 20th century. In their redesign, the hallways were made to suit modern educational concepts of a ârhythmicâ learning atmosphere, thereby serving the current need for communal areas of varied use.
Photographs courtesy of Jan Bitter.
"Form Follows Kidsâ Fictionâ
Working together with the Baupiloten in a series of workshops, the students created fantastical and poetic worlds, culminating in the fictive âSnuffle of the Silver Dragonâ. This was a further development of the âSilver Dragon Worldâ created in the schoolâs hallways in 2003. The âSnuffle of the Silver Dragonâ, a veil covering the floors and ceilings of the schools 3 upper stories, functionsÂ (depending on weather conditions) as a brilliant light filter.
Children as Designers of their Worlds
Beyond the collaborative process, children should be able to form their daily environment â not only suggestively in the form of ideas, but as actual co-designers of their world. In the schoolâs three upper stories, a seating landscape was created in a series of openings contained within the âSnuffle of the Silver Dragonâ. In these openings, the children can relax upon soft, warm materials. The landscape is composed of five modules: couches, caverns, lairs, pedestals, and tables with fold-out benches. These modules allow the children to test their bodies and find the most comfortable position in which to learn or play, without having to conform to seating norms. The children can communicate via the âSnuffle Beatleâ, a total of 34 reflectors placed around the building.
The âSnuffle Gardenâ on the schools second story offers a series of horizontal and sloped surfaces on which the children can lay, sit, or slide. Particles such as the âWingsâ and âFireflowerâ float inside the âSnuffle of the Silver Dragonâ. The particles are fold-out chairs and sculptures on which the children sit or retreat into â either together or on their own. Warm rays of light shine into the particles from the ceiling, covering the seats in a golden glow.
The hidden "Dragonâs Treasureâ is also located on this story. The children decorate its magnetic walls with colorful mosaics that can be changed however they please. On the 3rd story, the âSnuffle of the Silver Dragonâ is entangled within the âKaleidoscopeâ. A gallery of mirrors optically dissolves the geometrical space; the walls and ceilings of the hallway are equipped with highly reflective field of metal panels, penetrated only by a collection of images composed of 270 picture frames. The children decorate the picture collection with their own creations, allowing their images to be endlessly reflected and providing for a constant change in spatial perception.
The âChill Roomâ, also located on the third story, is a landscape of seating-pedestals covered with foam, tarp, and various textiles. A series of one-meter high âPetalsâ form a protective island around the pedestals, large enough for two to three children. These protective islands are made of wooden frames and can be individually formed by the children. Thus, the children are able to form their own environment according to their wishes through the manipulation of sound, light, and laminate.