Franz&Sue: Central Leoben education centre - best architects 21


Central Leoben education centre

best architects 21

education buildings


Leoben, Austria


Hertha Hurnaus


As one of the region’s largest schools, the new Central Leoben Education Centre in Central Austria demonstrates effective diversity within a municipality. Catering to 600 children in total, the primary school and secondary school have always shared a building – yet without sharing any rooms or synergies. The renovation and extension of the historic building therefore provided the impetus to forge a shared identity. During a three-stage process, the architects have achieved a contemporary conversion of the listed original structure built in 1904/05. In order to create more space and openness, the old sanitary buildings were demolished and replaced with staggered, linked-up communal areas with glazing and balconies. By lowering the floor, the former cellar has been converted into a ground floor with a bright, open foyer and direct access to the town meadow. The school’s new front façade and main entrance now face towards this green space. The guiding principle of facilitating communication within the education centre is most apparent in the central staircase, which links all four storeys and, together with the open spaces between, forms the heart of the school. Large, dark corridors and blind spots have been replaced with mobile hallway furnishings, interior walls with windows, seating areas and open-plan group rooms. Small- and large-scale transformations – the sunny colour scheme, the perforated maritime pine ceilings with lighting that evokes the night sky – add to the school’s open and friendly atmosphere.