Designed by Sauerbruch Hutton, the unusual extension of Berlin Metropolitan School includes a striking timber auditorium
Words by Francesca Perry
Berlin-based architecture practice Sauerbruch Hutton has completed the extension of the Berlin Metropolitan School, adding copper-clad rooftop volumes to the school’s existing five-storey structure.
Founded in 2004 as an international school, Berlin Metropolitan School is housed in a prefabricated building dating to 1987. Clad in sections of brick-like ceramic tiles, the 1980s structure consists of four building sections positioned around a central courtyard. As a growing institution, however, the existing space was no longer sufficient to house all the educational activities and classes.
Commissioned in 2014, Sauerbruch Hutton consequently designed and delivered a 3,650 sq m extension to the school which includes additional classrooms, music rooms, a library, roof garden, administration offices, and a large auditorium where the main school events are held.
Sauerbruch Hutton’s project consists of structural timber, copper-clad rooftop extensions – which sit like gleaming spaceships on top of the 1980s buildings – as well as an annex which wraps down to meet the ground level.
The construction work had to be executed during school hours and realised in stages. The extension was therefore designed as a prefabricated timber system that could be quickly erected in phases. The lightweight timber structures did not require additional foundations or alterations to the existing supporting structure.
While the timber is externally clad with copper – complementing the warm brown tones of the older building’s cladding – inside it is left exposed to increase the sense of a healthy indoor environment supported by natural, sustainable materials.
Photography by Jan Bitter