Location: Madrid (Spain)
Architects:Gruntuch Ernest Architects
Year: 2015


  • Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi): “Architecture with Energy” (2011)
  •  Bund Deutscher Baumeister, Architekten und Ingenieure (BDB) and Deutsche BauZeitschrift (DBZ): Balthasar Neumann Preis – Distinction (2016) 
  • World Architecture Festival Award 2016: Category Winner: „Schools – Completed Buildings“
  • Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the Federal Chamber of Architects (BAK): Deutscher Architekturpreis – Distinction (2017)

Building description

The new building for the German School in northern Madrid replaces its predecessor building in the city centre and is closely connected to the development of the new district of Montecarmelo. With its educational and cultural programme, the German School Madrid is an important place for cultural exchange.

In this large complex, the different school areas form clearly defined units. While all components unite into an organic ensemble, each individual building – the kindergarten, the primary school and the secondary school – frames a patio, open to the surrounding landscape. The spatial composition and visual connections within the school promote a sense of group identification and exchange.

The shared areas – the cafeteria, a concert hall/ auditorium with 750 seats, the sports hall and the “foyer courtyards” – connect the individual school buildings. The polygonal skylights create a captivating play of light and provide the pupils with valuable shade.

One important planning stipulation was the limitation of the environmental impacts during the construction works and throughout the building life cycle. A return to traditional simplicity, such as natural cooling through a subterranean thermal maze, along with innovative technological sophistication characterises the design approach and enable a sustainable operation of the building.

The design responds to the prevailing climatic conditions in central Spain through a close interplay of architectural and energy concepts. Roofed outdoor areas and setbacks in the façades mitigate the summer heat, while the large building volumes make it possible to store cool air, resulting in a more comfortable indoor climate. In addition, a suitable insulation and a ventilation system with heat recovery ensure low heating and cooling loads and good air quality. Photovoltaic panels produce electricity and a water tank collects rainwater for watering the gardens.

Grüntuch Ernst Architects / photo: Celia de Coca

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