German schools traditionally close at 1 p.m., but to accommodate working parents, the Ganztagsschule or all-day school has emerged in recent years. The longer hours are prompting a rethinking of school design, not only to increase energy efficiency and create healthy environments but also to explore how architecture can enable students to relax and stay productive throughout the extended day.

The Ergolding School, which can accommodate 80 teachers and 800 students in grades 5 to 12, focuses on science and economics. As designed by Behnisch Architects and Leinh'upl + Neuber, the project points German education in the direction of all-day learning. Here students can attend classes that end at 1 p.m. on most days and can elect after-school supervision until 4 p.m. up to four days a week'or they can participate in a program offering morning and afternoon classes. The concept requires auxiliary spaces, including a cafeteria for midday meals and after-school study halls, not usually found in German high schools.

Located in Ergolding, 40 miles north of Munich, the school sits between a highway on the south and a nature preserve and a school for children with special needs on the north. The north-facing entry leads to a four-story atrium that connects diverse ground-level functions'cafeteria, music, and sport facilities to the east, and offices, teacher preparation rooms, art studios, library, and study halls to the west. Extensive interior glazing throughout the ground level, combined with the spacious atrium, establishes a progressive approach: 'It's different from a typical school,' notes Ewald Bichler, assistant principal and a teacher. 'Being so open and bright makes it easier to engage with students.'

To help with navigation, each level is distinguished by a single color applied to flooring and walls in corridors and restrooms'yellow for the ground floor, orange for the second, green for the third, and blue for the science departments on the fourth. Classrooms are accessed by south-facing corridors, which serve as thermal barriers and a buffer against the highway. The corridors' exterior windows feature triple-glazing, with a frit to reduce solar heat gain.

The classrooms, which face north, also have triple-glazed windows to provide day-long, balanced light to improve concentration. On the second and third levels, louvers on the corridors' interior facade direct additional daylight across these spaces and through a clerestory into the rear of the classrooms, while domed skylights enhance illumination on the fourth. LED luminaires supplement daylight in classrooms, all public areas, and the gymnasium.

Areas for informal communication or quiet retreat are dispersed throughout the building. The architects designed leftover spaces resulting from the plan's irregular geometries as gathering areas. They also widened corridors fronting the art studios, library, and study halls to encourage social interaction, and enlarged low-lying window sills to become benches that entice students to linger.

Ventilation, heating, and cooling systems take advantage of the generous corridors, which vary in width from 8 to 10 feet. Supply air is directed mechanically into the classrooms and can be supplemented by operable windows. Exhaust air is directed through the corridors to the atrium, where it is removed. A heat pump, which harvests warm air from a geothermal field north of the school, supplies 85 percent of the school's heating needs. (A gas-fueled boiler delivers the remainder.) Also, hot or cold water runs through the concrete ceiling slabs to help heat or cool interiors.

Far from being an ivory tower, the school welcomes use by the surrounding community. Outside groups, such as children from the adjacent school, access the gym by a separate entry on the east, and the sports hall and changing rooms can be open independently of the rest of the school on evenings and weekends. Non-school events can be held in the atrium, which is an officially designated place of public assembly. And because the building won't reach full capacity until 2019 (currently it is occupied only by grades five to seven), underutilized classrooms can be used for conferences and other outside activities.

The school's proximity to the highway is its only drawback. Though it goes unnoticed indoors, and a new sound-absorption barrier offers some protection, the traffic's din nevertheless penetrates the small, south-facing courtyards opening onto the gym, art rooms, and library.

The school hums with life. During a midday visit in November, the atrium recalled a busy town square, with students piling book bags at the base of the generous stairs, some playing intently at table football, and others poring over study sheets at small tables clustered near the cafeteria, which serves almost as a sidewalk caf'. According to Klaus Wegmann, the Ergolding School's principal, the building's transparency and informality benefit the students and also affect the staff: 'The openness makes a difference,' he says. 'We have more cordial relations, and many people use the familiar form of 'you.' This school is clearly not for more straitlaced types.


District of Landshut (District Administrator, Josef Eppeneder)
Sachgebiet 16, Veldener Straße 15, Landshut

Project Management
Bau- und Projektmanagement Hartl GmbH (Eggenfelden, Germany)

District of Landshut

Ergolding Secondary School
School Principal, Dr. Klaus Wegmann

Behnisch Architekten
163A, 70197 Stuttgart, Germany
Phone: +49 711 60772-0
Fax: +49 711 60772-99

Architekturbüro Leinhäupl + Neuber GmbH
Nahensteig 188D, 84028 Landshut, Germany, Phone: +49 (0) 871/9 25 02-0; Fax: +49 (0) 871/9 25 02-10

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Partner in Charge: Stefan Behnisch, Behnisch Architekten, Diploma – Engineering Architect
Robert Hösle, Behnisch Architekten, Diploma – Engineering Architect
Markus Neuber, AB Leinhäupl+Neuber, Diploma – Engineering Architect
Barbara Neuber, AB Leinhäupl+Neuber, Diploma – Engineering Architect
Peter Leinhäupl, AB Leinhäupl+Neuber, Diploma – Engineering Architect

Project leader: Brigitte Hoernle, Behnisch Architeken, Diploma – Engineering Architect
Paul Rapp, AB Leinhäupl+Neuber, Diploma – Engineering

Team Behnisch Architekten
Wyly Brown, Diploma – Engineering Architect
Jonthan Fahy, Bachelor of Architecture
Andreas Leupold
Roxanne Reusse, Bachelor of Arts, Interior Designer
Thomas Weitzel, Master of Architecture

Team AB Leinhäupl + Neuber GmbH
Stefania di Pisa, Diploma – Engineering
Stefan Müller, Diploma – Engineering Architect
Wilhelm Brugger, Technician of Construction
Klaus Köstler, Diploma – Engineering Architect
Robert Schuhmacher, Diploma – Engineering

Architect of record:
Arbeitsgemeinschaft - Behnisch Architekten l Architekturbüro Leinhäupl + Neuber GmbH

(please note: an “Arbeitsgemeinschaft” is a working group (joint venture) between two offices, where all important work stages and duties are split 50/50 – this includes design, work both in office and on the construction side, payment and fees, decision making, responsibility etc.)

Site architect(s):
Architekturbüro Leinhäupl + Neuber GmbH

Structural Engineer
BBI Bauer Beratende Ingenieure (Landshut, Germany)
ISP Scholz Beratende Ingenieure (Munich, Germany)

Mechanical and Environmental engineer
Frey-Donabauer-Wich mbH (Gaimersheim, Germany)

Electrical engineer
SBI Schicho Beratende Ingenieure (Regensburg, Germany)

Fire Code
Brandschutz Consulting (Munich, Germany)

Energy concept
TRANSSOLAR Energietechnik GmbH (Munich, Germany)

Lab landschaftsarchitektur brenner (Landshut, Germany)

Nimbus Group (Stuttgart, Germany) with Schicho Beratende Ingenieure (Regensburg, Germany)

Acoustical / structural physics
PMI GmbH (Munich, Germany)

Kitchen planning
PBB Bauer (Rednitzhembach, Germany)

Orientation system and color scheme
OCKERTUNDPARTNER (Stuttgart, Germany)

David Matthiessen
Mozartstr. 37, 70180 Stuttgart, +49 (0) 176. 66 84 58 19, +49 (0) 711. 24 84 520,


147,000 square feet

Construction cost:

19.2 million

Completion date:

September 2013



Structural system
Level 0 – Level 1
Reinforced concrete structure
Level -1
White tank construction (closed tank made of highly waterproof concrete)
Local source: Strabag AG (Thalgau, Austria)

Gym roof: Glued laminated timber saddleback roof
Local source: Grossmann Bau GmbH & Co.KG (Rosenheim, Germany)

Exterior cladding
Exterior cladding / Windows
Level 0 – Level 3:
Windows: Wicona (Aluminum mullion transom façade)
Raico (Steel mullion transom façade) 
Local source: Neumayr High-Tech Fassaden GmbH (Eggenfelden, Germany)

Level 1 – Level 3  
Facade: Alsecco (Alsecco, Alsicolor Quattro,  Alsicolor Metallic) Composite thermal façade insulation system
Local source: Scholtyschik & Partner GbR (Mettenheim, Germany)

Roofing System
Flat roof with slope insulation on reinforced concrete ceiling
Roof cladding with gravel, partial green roof
Terrace with concrete blocks in a gravel bed
Local source: Tectus Flachdachabdichtungen GmbH (Munich, Germany)
Simon Dittrich Roofing GmbH (Neuhausen, Germany)

Windows, Glazing
Glass: Glas Trösch(glass)
Local source: Neumayr High-Tech Fassaden (Eggenfelden, Germany)

Skylight: Börner Oberlicht Kuppeln
Local source: Tectus Flachdachabdichtungen GmbH (Munich, Germany)
Simon Dittrich Roofing GmbH (Neuhausen, Germany)
Grossmann Bau GmbH & Co.KG (Rosenheim, Germany)

Entrances: Wicona
Metal Doors: BKM Mihla
Aluminum Glass Doors: Forster
Wooden Doors: Lindner
Sliding Doors: Lindner

Lock Sets: Assa Abloy
Closing Devices: GEZE
Pull Handles: FSB

Interior finishes
Acoustic Ceilings: Knauf; Heradesign; Sto
Local source: TM-Ausbau (Munich, Germany)

Partition Wall System: Lindner, Lichte-Systenwand, Forster; Abopart
Local source: BKM-Mihla; Rieger und Lichte; Abopart

Carpentry: Schäble-Team GmbH (Goldburghausen, Germany)

Paints/coatings: Brillux
Local source: A. Dallinger Maler und Gerüstbau GmbH (Marzling, Germany)

Tiles: Villeroy-Boch, Agrob Buchtal, Starline, Vogue, Ce.Si. Vitra
Local source: Fliesen Geiss GmbH & Co.KG, Auerbach

Floor Coverings: Linoleum Armstrong (Level 1-3, hallways)
Local source: Interior Design: Schandert GmbH (Jüteborg, Germany)

Floor Coating: Remmers (level 0)
Local source: Bernd Bindl GmbH (Plauen, Germany)

Carpets:  Kugelgarn Fabromont (in classrooms, administrative offices, library etc.)
Local source: Raumgestaltung Schandert GmbH (Jüteborg, Germany)

Office Furniture: Assmann Büromöbel
Reception Furniture: Assmann Büromöbel
Supplier: Sneganas Büroeinrichtungshandels GmbH (Landshut, Germany)

Fixed Seating:
Local source: Schäble-Team GmbH (Goldburghausen, Germany)

School Furniture: VS Möbel; Vitra; Performa
Local source:  Sneganas Office Equipment Trading GmbH (Landshut, Germany)

Textiles: Creation Baumann
(Cavallo Piu, Phantom Plus ll, Scherzo lV, Calvaro, Phantom Plus II)
Presentations Systems
Whiteboard: Promethian

(exclusively LED-lighting)

Indirect Lighting: Nimbus Group
Recessed Spots: Nimbus Group
Workplace Luminaires:  Nimbus Group
Local source:  Elektro Unterreithmayr (Landshut, Germany)

Exterior Lighting:  Nimbus Group (building)
Jahn GmbH – Laterna 4 (landscape)

Light Switch / Electrical Installation
Manufacturer: Merten (m-smart)

Conveyance, Elevators
Elevator:  Kone (Mix&Match)
Local source: Fa. Kone Gmbh (Regensburg, Germany)

Sanitary Ceramics:  Keramag (Renova Nr. 1)
Fittings: Conti – KNX Fittings

Energy, Other unique products that contribute to sustainability Ecology
Light Directing System:  Warema
Local source: Tautenhahn GmbH, Chemnitz

Glass Printing*:  Glas Trösch
Local source:  Neumayr High-Tech Fassaden, Eggenfelden

* Since all classrooms are angled towards the north, no exterior sun shading was required, and artificial lighting was avoided in the hallways (for additional energy savings). Individually printed glass was used on the south façade to reduce the thermal load.

Energy Standard Primary energy demand 104.00 kWh / (m²*a), 40% less than specified by current German Energy Saving Regulations

Heat pumps (covering 85% of the heating load)
Low temperature system with underfloor heating and concrete core activation
Mechanical ventilation enhanced by window ventilation

Highly efficient heat recovery:
A small gas boiler meets peak demands during the winter heating periods

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project:
The surrounding neighborhood—with its outdoor, green spaces including a soccer field, as well as a nearby school—adds diversity to the immediate context.