The new building is the first building of the famous Japanese workshop in Germany. Its importance also lies in the fact that it is located on the territory of the UNESCO-protected cultural and historical monument of the Zollverein Mine.
This mine complex was built in the early 1930s by the young architects Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer and belongs to the most important industrial buildings of the Modern Movement. At the same time, it is also an important historical evidence of the period when the entire Rhine region was one of the world centers of the coal mining industry. At one time, Zollverein was the largest mine of its kind in the world, and held the leading position in Germany until its closure in 1986. In the 1990s, it was turned into a center for design and contemporary art, and in 2001 it received an international monument status.
SANAA has added the first new building to the Zollverein in 50 years. The school is a cube with an edge of 35 m, the walls of which are cut by asymmetrically located openings of various shapes. The height of the ceilings on all four floors of the building is different; there is a garden on the roof. The useful area is 5,000 sq. m. Interior spaces - with a free plan, their function and - in many respects - appearance - must determine the furniture, flooring, etc., chosen by the owners.
Such a project is quite typical for SANAA - their winning international projects of the Louvre branch and the training center of the Ecole Polytechnique de lausanne (EPFL) are also distinguished by transparency, full of light and irregular arrangement of openings (at the Zollverein School there are 134 of them and they are of four different sizes and shapes). But here - in the embodied building - a technical solution is interesting. The architects made the load-bearing reinforced concrete facade almost transparent. This could lead, among other things, to huge heating costs. But the school will be heated almost free of charge and environmentally friendly: groundwater with a temperature of + 28 ° C will be delivered by a pump from a depth of 1 km (from one of the nearby mines) and chased along flexible plastic pipes mounted in the walls.
The Zollverein School of Management and Design will open its doors to students this fall. It offers continuing education courses under the MBA program in the related fields of management and design.