Pears Jewish Campus features a vibrant, organically curved school building with diverse open spaces

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Pears Jewish Campus

Pears Jewish Campus Berlin, designed by Sergei Tchoban, is a facility for children and young people consisting of a school, a crèche, and a kindergarten. Surrounded by heterogeneous architecture, the new school building, with its organically curved form, is a free-standing structure embedded in a green school garden with diverse open spaces for different uses, such as playgrounds and sports fields. The two-story multi-purpose hall on the third floor can be used flexibly for sports activities but also for cultural events, such as religious celebrations, seminars, and conferences. On the fifth floor is an auditorium with ascending tiers for film screenings or lectures.

The amorphous curved shape of Pears Jewish Campus was chosen in reference to the interior of the Chabad-Lubavitch Centre, where the contemporary additions to the rectangular, Neoclassical existing building were deliberately executed in the same organic formal language with rhythmic horizontal banding that appears in the structural form and façade of the new building. The vertical slits of light within the horizontal bands on the school’s façade are also a motif found in the interior paneling of the neighboring synagogue.

Constructed in masonry and concrete, the building immediately catches the eye with its colorfulness and materiality. This is where its name, ‘The Blue House’, comes from. In terms of form and style, the design of the school building again refers to the neighboring family and cultural center. There is a color connection between the iridescent, sky-blue / midnight-blue-violet glazed, rear-ventilated clinker-brick façade of the new school building and the blue-white glazed entrance portal of the Jewish cultural center in the front part of the site. The color blue has had a special significance throughout the history of Judaism right up to the present day: reminiscent of the blue of the sky, this shade is the color of divine revelation.

The roof slab is a slope-free inverted roof with two layers of waterproofing in accordance with the flat roof directive. The roof surface will be extensively greened. The school’s main entrance is accessible from street level. Its walls are adorned with two kabbalistic trees of life – light installations by the Berlin artist Anna Nezhnaya. The two brightly colored trees that greet people at the entrance to the campus are more poetically picturesque than schematic.

The two-story entrance hall has a mirrored ceiling as a special design element. From the adjacent staircase, all floors are wheelchair-accessible via at least one lift. The facility is intended for use by 450 children and adolescents, ranging from children of crèche or kindergarten age up to grade 12, i.e., between the ages of approximately one and 18. Pears Jewish Campus rooms (classrooms, subject classrooms, assembly rooms, workshops) are used exclusively by the school; the group rooms are exclusively by the daycare center. The concrete wall on the street side shows graffiti by the Berlin street artist TOBO, aka Tobias Friesike.

Project Info

Architect: Sergei Tchoban
Associated partner: Frederik-Sebastian Scholz
Project management: Frederik-Sebastian Scholz, Nancy Wendland
Team: Lev Chestakov, Eimear O’Gorman, Valeria Kashirina, Birgit Koeder, Anja Koch, Charlotte Lennertz, Ingo Schwarzweller, Ramona Schwarzweller, Waldemar Strese, Niina Ballheimer, Fabiana Pedretti
Work stages: 6-8: Kondius AG, Berlin
Structural engineering: Ingenieurbuero Bendel Bradke Lang Bauwesen GmbH, Berlin
Building equipment: Ingenieurbüro für Haustechnik KEM GmbH, Berlin
Landscaping: Nolte / Gehrke Partnerschaft von Landschaftsarchitekten mbB, Berlin
Shell construction: Koegel Bau GmbH & Co. KG, Bad Oeyenhausen; Bauunternehmen Mueller GmbH, Schwielowsee
Building acoustics: ABH Akustikbuero Hoffmeier, Berlin
Fire protection concept: Roessel Brandschutz, Berlin
Lighting design: LichtVision Design GmbH, Berlin
Planning of school / day-care center equipment, work stage 2: Architekturbuero Heidrun Klein, Erfurt
Planning of equipment for school / day-care center, work stages 3-8: Design Alchemists, Berlin
Planning of equipment for specialist rooms at school, work stage 5: Kreische Boehme Beyer GbR, Ilmenau
Clinker façade: Keramik für Bau und Denkmalspflege GmbH, Großraeschen; Jahnsen Bau GmbH, Herford
Windows / doors: Sommer Fassadensysteme-Stahlbau-Sicherheitstechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Doehlau
Carpentry work: Weisse GmbH & Co. KG, Eberswalde
Wood cladding for sports hall: Vereinigte Holzbaubetriebe Wilhelm Pfalzer & Hans Vogt GmbH & Co. KG, Woringen
Planning Cafeteria/library: KA+ GmbH, Berlin; studio kejo GbR, Berlin
Design of ‘trees of life’: Anna Nezhnaya, Berlin
Graffiti art: TOBO aka Tobias Friesike, Berlin
Photographer: Roland Halbe, HG Esch

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