The Schillerhalle is a building for cultural entertainment in all forms, as it can be used as either a theatre hall or a gym for sports. The school next door needed a gym for physical education classes: in view of this Wulf und partner, the studio that designed the project, addressed the problem of how to combine two functions that are apparently very different.
The problem of integrating these functions is solved by the extreme regularity of the floor plan, with a central rectangular hall dictating the organisation of the premises around it, arranged around it to allocate the equipment required to support different activities. The way in which these rooms communicate with the hall is highly functional: some with direct access, others with access subordinate to corridors regularly marking the rhythm of the space longitudinally. While the areas to the north and west are reserved for the gym and contain sporting equipment, locker rooms and bathrooms, the southern side houses the stage, directly overlooking the central hall, which is set up with chairs for the audience during performances and is used as the school gym for the rest of the time. The eastern wall is entirely open onto the little square outside it, which the Schillerhalle shares with the school building, and is glassed-in with another passage that creates a space between the entrance and the hall to serve as a foyer: this space is central to the composition of the floor plan because it is both inside and outside at the same time, a place of transit and a place to stop, a place to get together during the intermission and a clear vestibule offering views of all of the interior. The space is defined by the flooring, of Lastranera porcelain stoneware by Eiffelgres in the large size, 90x30, chosen to underline the breadth of the hall, offering outstanding strength with all the character of the subtle hues of natural slate.
Gym and theatre hall become a single space in Wulf und partner’s design, which manages to acknowledge and reconcile the requirements of both types of place (as in the ceiling with lighting directly overhead, the oak flooring resistant to wear, the discretion and easy accessibility of the utility areas), to cross over and find a solution that works for both. The result is creation of a third kind of place, a place of aggregation and belonging with a broader cultural purpose, a place which attracts people of all ages from different segments of the population.
The order and regularity of the design is completed with a series of details: decorative details such as the inside wall with its bamboo design in bas-relief, functional details such as the seats formed out of the cement walls in the corridors, and architectural details such as the glass openings that add life to the walls facing onto the square and open the building up for use by the community.
by Mara Corradi
Project: Wulf und partner
Assistants: Christine Eisele, Andreas Zürcher
Client: Gemeinde Schillerhalle
Structural design: Weischede, Herrmann und Partner
Lighting: Raible + Partner
Greenery: Möhrle & Partner
Location: Dettingen an der Erms (Germania)
Surface area: 3050 m2
Project date: 2007
Construction date: 2009
Reinforced concrete structure by Brodbeck Metzingen
Calcium carbonate cladding panels by Crailsheimer Muschelkalk
Flooring in foyer and corridors made of Lastranera porcelain stoneware by Eiffelgres, tile sizes 90x30 and 60x30
Flooring in the hall made of Wilms oak
Photographs: Giacomo G. Benecchi