The St. Benno Gymnasium in Dresden, by Behnisch Architects, completed in 1996, is located in a dense urban setting along a busy major arterial on the southeast edge of the site. The school plan is single loaded, with the main public circulation path behind a big blue wall facing the traffic, allowing the classroom spaces to face the quiet residential neighborhood.
Our JUST ONE THING this week is context and scale. The four story school is partially buried on the site, the commons, gym, and chapel are set on the lowest level, slightly below grade. The classroom wings step down to create a pedestrian-friendly scale along the quiet residential street.
The interior public spaces dynamically interconnect both vertically within the school, as well as outward to the neighborhood. Attention to scale and habitability makes theses spaces very conducive to student interaction.