Erika Mann Elementary School I

Learning landscape, Conversion, 2003

In the first renovation, the wide corridors and escape routes of the listed, nineteenth-century school were transformed into additional learning and living spaces as part of educational reform. Seating and cloakroom elements of diverse and non-flammable materials immerse each fl oor in a different atmosphere and simultaneously create space for differentiated learning in small groups. The transformation of the Erika Mann Elementary School has become an example of social integration through participation, and shows that even on a small scale, architectural interventions can act as a social catalyst for the neighborhood.

User Participation
The worlds that the pupils presented with collages, a title, and story, formed the beginning of the design process for Die Baupiloten students, who identified the atmospheric qualities in the work, in order to discuss and refine them with the pupils. They developed the conceptual fiction of a “Silver Dragon World“ which connects the five interventions throughout the school, as seen in the photos below. They become more apparent as one moves up the building: Stardust Diving (Ground Floor), Breath of Gentle Air (1st Floor), The Throne on the Beat of the Wings (2nd Floor), and Flying on the Dragon’s Tail (3rd Floor). The stairwell is the educational music Giant Humming Trail.


Susanne Hofmann


Frank Drenckhahn, Johannes Gutsch, Gordana Jakimovska, Nils Ruf, Urs Walter and Karin Behrendt, Sandra Appels, Katrin Rüter (Visiting Students)


L.I.S.T GmbH, Förderverein der Erika-Mann-Grundschule

Budget/Gross floor area

140.000 EUR gross/1100 m²

Work stages

LP 1–5, school design consultancy


Utrechter Straße 25
13347 Berlin

Photographer Jan Bitter