Luginsland Kindergarten Stuttgart

Günter Behnisch

Subject | This new kindergarten was built on the edge of a residential area of single and multifamily houses in Untertürkheim, Stuttgart. The plot is on a long slope facing south-west with a five-metre difference in level. A difficult task which, after a number of unsatisfactory inquiries by the Municipal Construction Department, was assigned to the architects Behnisch & Partner. Günter Behnisch describes the reflections that resulted in the unusual design:

"Certainly there are many ways of tackling such a problem. One would be to put up a building similar to the houses nearby: single or two-storey cubes with gable roofs. In the morning the children would simply go from the houses they live in to a house in which to play. A practical solution but one offering little difference between the children's world and that of the grown-ups. On the other hand, one could erect a building which, for a start, didn't exist in the world the children had hitherto lived in, something that couldn't have come from the world of grown-ups ... that doesn't pay off. A huge elephant you could live in or a ship, or something that looked like, or reminded you of, an elephant or a ship; a thing that didn't belong there, that no one expected to see in the middle of vineyards; something that might have slipped in from a world of make-believe: a ship that would belong to the children's world and form part of it; a ship that would sail away with you to some wonderful place; something you would fondly remember or that would evoke questions like 'What on earth is that ship doing in the middle of those vineyards?'or'What's that prince doing on the star, the gnome in the shadowy corner, the nymph in that cool, clear water?'... Things not found in our everyday world."

Originally the idea was to erect a reinforced concrete structure and face it with wood, it being assumed that with this material the unusual shape - the sloping and hanging walls - could best be realised. From the tenders received this was then seen to be too costly. However, the Municipal Construction Department was ready to put out another invitation to tender, specifying the shape of the building but not the material to be used. It was then found that with a timber skeleton construction and plank and beam walls the building could be comfortably financed. Within the short period of three months a completely new working plan had to be drawn up. The model based on it was then made available to the contractor as a guide.

Wood being a rather singular material requiring special jointing techniques, there was at first some hesitancy about using it for constructing the shape of a


Kindergarten Luginsland, LotharstraGe 24,70327 Stuttgart-Unterturkheim, Germany. Dates for public visits are arranged every six months by the team of kindergarten teachers. For information phone 0711-337544-Client

Stuttgart Town Council, Technisches Referat, Hoch-bauamt


Behnisch & Partner, Freie Architekten BDA, Stuttgart Project Architect Sibylle Kappel-Klieber

Timber Construction and General Contractor Huber & Sohn, Bach-mehring

Structural Engineer Briinninghoff + Rampf, Ulm

Date of Completion 1990


At a net ground plan area of 317 m2 and a gross cubage of 1 350 m3 the building costs were approx. 1.7 million DM. The total costs amounted to approx. 2.7 million DM.

6 | View of entrance hall with curved "cabin roof".

7 | Entrance hall during the construction stage. Same view as illustration 6.

8 | Lower recreation and common room with "mast" and double central joist.

9 | The "Ship" during the construction phase before the weather boarding or corrugated aluminium was fitted.

5 I Longitudinal and cross-section, scale 1:300.

ship, which in concrete and steel could have been erected without any visible supporting structure, as flat surfaces and lines. But, as Behnisch said, "We got used to the idea and today we feel that the charm, the distinctive feature of this building, is that we have here something that was originally not intended to be of wood and has now been realised in that material." The observer has, however, the impression that wood is the most congenial material for this particular form and that the design could not have been solved in a better way. In 1991 the building won a number of prizes, including the Hugo Häring Prize awarded by the State of Baden-Württemberg.

Design | The "Kindergarten ship" emerges, so to speak, bow foremost, from the hillside. The external geometry is at an angle both length- and crosswise and is "disrupted" by the horizontal levels. This results in rooms of unusual shape. Two groups of infants are accommodated on two different levels with a recreation and common room each, the sanitary facilities, and adjoining rooms, the head teacher's room, and a large and small hall. Access to the building is via a "landing-stage" at the upper level. The outdoor and play areas can be reached directly from both levels.

Structure | The roof loads of the "Cabin roof" are taken up by the glulam beams which, curved to the shape of the roof, span the length of the cabin. The roof skin is of corrugated aluminium sheeting on 24 mm wood boarding and an underneath layer. The roof is insulated with a too mm mineral wool layer in the spaces between the 140 x 240 mm longitudinal members. The result is a ventilated roof with a 140 mm air space above the heat insulation. The underneath facing is of red fir-veneered plywood, attached to the glulam beams by means of 40 x 60 mm wood laths. This plywood sheeting serves as bracing for the sloping roof girders.

The "Upper Deck": The upper deck, which slopes towards the back and side, consists of a system of 120 x 160 mm solid wood beams of 800 mm spacing. The two-span beams are supported at one end by timbers running along the ship's side and at the other by an 180 x 300 mm glulam girder in the centre of the building. The longitudinal forces of the sloped roof are led into the members that run along the ship's side. At the stern these forces are transmitted to the floor, here of reinforced concrete, via bracing systems. The transverse forces are absorbed by stiffening walls and by a steel stanchion acting from outside against the ship's side at its theoretical buckling point. The roof above the system of beams visible from underneath consists of 22 mm tongue-and-groove boarding, the vapour barrier, 100 mm Roofmate heat insulating board and two layers of bonded sealing foil, a non-ventilated roof, that is, with wooden gratings for walking on, resting on Neoprene supports and linked one to the other and to the roof parapet to facilitate walking on the sloping surface.

The "Tweendeck": The floor construction resembles in the main that of the upper deck. The timbers are 140 x 240 mm glulam beams at 80 cm intervals. The centre bearer is of double cross-section and measures twice 140 x 400 mm. Although the floor is not at an angle, because it is supported by inclined parts, e.g. the bow, mast, external and intermediate columns, it exerts forces both longitudinally and transversely, like the upper deck does. The longitudinal forces are led via the joists to the massive stern. As with the upper deck the transverse forces are taken up by the reinforcing walls and a steel stanchion. To ensure effective sound insulation the floor has been provided with 50-mm-thick slabs - laid dry -underneath the 250 mm mineral wool footfall insulation boards. In the spaces between the slabs the pipes of the underfloor heating system are embedded in perlite loose fill. The floor covering consists of strip flooring laid on finger-jointed

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