As a joint home for the city and state library, the adult education center ”Albert Einstein” and a science floor, the Bildungsforum Potsdam embodies a meeting place for those interested in education, science and the media. Photo: SCHOTT/S. Falk
Atrium with Atmosphere
Glass constructions played a key role in the challenging renovation of the Bildungsforum (Education Forum) in Potsdam. The roof over the new atrium inside consists of fire-resistant glazing with PYRAN®S to create a unique spatial experience.
The new façade almost looks like a shelf of book spines standing side by side. The window division that uses colored glass panels is hardly a coincidence either. Today, as in the past, the Bildungsforum Potsdam is mainly home to a library, but for residents it has now been further developed to become a meeting place for those interested in education, science, and the media. The functional building dates back to 1974 and no longer met the requirements of the 21st century. For this reason, it was extensively renovated and integrated into a newly defined block of residences as part of urban reorganization in the center of Potsdam.
For the Berlin-based architectural firm Reiner Becker Architects BDA, the first step was to tear down the building until only its skeleton stood. Its concrete skeleton and ceilings were all that remained. By combining the individual library areas into a multi-storey room ensemble with a spacious atrium, the ground floor became an attractive zone with central library functions, a café, an events accommodation, and a children’s library.
The decision to open the interior to a courtyard by taking out part of the mezzanine floor proved to be a wise move from an architectural perspective. This created an atrium covered by a glass roof that also provides the extremely deep library room on the ground floor with light. This construction was realized with G30 fire-resistant glazing that in the event of fire prevents it from spreading to the next floor. PYRAN® S, a monolithic, thermally tempered borosilicate glass from SCHOTT, was used for this purpose. Fire-resistant glazing with PYRAN® S effectively prevents a fire and smoke from spreading. It remains transparent under even the heaviest thermal loads, and thus allows for buildings to be evacuated very quickly. The glass-roofed atrium spans all the way up to the galleries on the first floor to create a spatial experience of high transparency and gives the four-storey building a warm atmosphere inside. This supports the optimal room design for learning, which was the original intention, and a high-quality visit at the barrier-free Bildungsforum. This state-of-the-art meeting place with its contemporary appearance has been visited by many since it opened in 2013. For the Mayor of Potsdam, Jann Jakobs, it is well worth the effort: ”Our courage has been rewarded.” <
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