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Special needs school with vibrant façade

Easy, low-maintenance and attractive – these were the requirements for the façade of the extension to a special needs school in Pfarrkirchen, Bavaria. The solution was a rear-ventilated façade with Rockpanel Colours façade boards. Three different shades of green and the irregular layout with slanting joints create varied and vivid cladding.

As a school that focuses on special educational needs, the Betty-Greif School is an important element in the overall education system in the district of Rottal-Inn. Nine grades are taught in ten classes and one all-day class in Pfarrkirchen, as well as additional preparatory groups of ten pupils each. As a result, the building erected in the 1980s, with a total of 150 pupils, had reached the limits of its capacities. With an overall budget of almost five million euros, the school was to be expanded by 450 m² and the existing facilities refurbished.

Conversion work during school time

The concept put forward by COPLAN AG, an independent engineering firm from Eggenfelden with considerable expertise in building schools, particularly during term time, was chosen via a European tender procedure. The project included an extension with a flat roof, consisting of two wings. The west wing was connected to the existing building and the north wing raised to create an additional storey, which continued on from the existing building and was mounted on pillars on a slope. This made it possible to extend the existing school playground and a canopy was added to provide protection from the weather. The design therefore created ideal conditions for individual support for the children and at the same time ensured an optimal connection with the existing building. 

Rockpanel façade boards convinced right across the line

The decision to use Rockpanel boards was the result of a comprehensive selection procedure. Various possibilities for the façades were discussed. The original architects' design included cladding with timber panels. Because the building contractor was worried that this would mean high maintenance costs in the long term, other solutions had to be sought. In addition, the building contractor felt that a lively, child-friendly façade design was important. Rockpanel boards were chosen because of the wide range of colours, easy handling and sustainability. "It was exactly the right product for our purpose on the façades of the Betty-Greif school," stressed Torsten Mehlsteibl, state-certified technician in charge of planning and site management at COPLAN AG. The planners were on safe ground as regards fire protection, too: Standard Rockpanel boards meet European fire-class B-s2, d0 (according to EN 13501-1). Moreover, in comparison with other façade cladding materials, they offer a particularly environmentally friendly alternative. The BRE Global Institute, which belongs to the British research and certification centre the Building Research Establishment (BRE), recognised across the world for its independent expert appraisals, confirmed the environmental qualities of the Rockpanel façade boards, giving them an A+ / A rating.

Broad colour range decisive

Architect Dietmar Wöhler, design architect at COPLAN AG, was won over by the wide range and colour palette offered by Rockpanel façade boards, which stand out thanks to the many designs and colours available. This gave the architect a good selection of design options to choose from. The Rockpanel Colours design line was used, which offers an almost limitless colour palette. Fifty standard colours can be supplied directly from the warehouse. From a minimum quantity of 100 m², the manufacturer is able to produce virtually any required RAL/NCS colour. "Given the wide Rockpanel Colours range, we dropped the idea of a wood-look façade in favour of a free design," says architect Dietmar Wöhler.

The result was a façade in three different shades of green, all special colours in grade 8 mm Durable. They were fitted irregularly and therefore create a varied and vivid façade. Slanting joints further underpin the effect and avoid an austere and monotone panel arrangement. "As the Rockpanel façade boards are available in virtually every RAL colour and are very easy to work with, the façades could be installed exactly as we planned," the architect explained enthusiastically.

Extra layer for extra protection

To meet the building contractor's wish for a low-maintenance façade, the panels were given an extra protective finish. This transparent ProtectPlus layer is water repellent and increases the self-cleaning power of the boards. So built-up dirt does not remain stuck to the surface but is simply washed away by rain or water. The boards stay clean and even graffiti, which is often found in schools, can easily be removed with a special detergent.

The extension clearly improved the Betty-Greif school. "The façade colours are always fresh and clear," says Fritz Preisinger, headmaster of the Betty-Greif school, talking about the successful implementation of the concept and adding: "Even when it rains and the sun isn't shining, the green still gleams." The general refurbishment of the old building at the Betty-Greif school is scheduled for spring 2018.

Construction sign

Building contractor: Administrative district Rottal-Inn, Germany

Planning: COPLAN AG, Eggenfelden, Germany

Façade panels: Rockpanel, Roermond, The Netherlands

Betty-Greif School, Pfarrkirchen, Germany
Betty-Greif School, Pfarrkirchen, Germany

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