Article

Modern school buildings

Setting an example: architectural and tile ceramics in modern school construction

Whether daycare centers, elementary and secondary schools, or universities: The international education landscape is rebuilding. Educational buildings all over the world have to adapt to new pedagogical requirements and support contemporary forms of learning and teaching. Modern educational concepts respond to the fact that learning works differently for every child. Schools are therefore evolving from places of instruction to places of learning and living that convey a basic understanding of community, social responsibility, sustainability and aesthetics. Architects are therefore called upon to design open and flexible spaces and large collaborative areas that are enjoyable, contribute to well-being, and inspire learning. Strong partners of successful school projects are and will remain materials and surfaces that are robust, durable and harmless to health: ceramic tiles.

Architecture is always also a role model - as a building, but also as an expression of an attitude that focuses on people more than anything else. Hardly any other type of building has as much social responsibility as educational construction, which literally almost all members of society go through across all types and forms of schools. There is still a great need to catch up and invest in the German educational landscape. On the one hand, this is why new school and university buildings are constantly being built, primarily in the major cities. On the other hand, countless aging existing buildings no longer meet energy and ecological standards. The rooms lack quality of stay and promote communication among the students.

The choice of suitable building materials is therefore essential in educational buildings. Finally, not least due to the high number of users and intensive use in limited periods of time, e.g. during breaks, very high loads occur. One of the main reasons for the clearly discernible trend towards ceramic materials is that they are extremely versatile while being highly robust. Ceramic tiles can be used as floor or wall coverings in foyers, corridors, refectories, kitchens and specialist classrooms as well as in toilets, showers, changing rooms and school swimming pools.

Many different tile sizes, colors and surfaces are possible, which can be individually adapted to the projects if required. Whether in large format or with mosaics, ceramic tiles, which can be easily combined in modular series, create sensual spaces perfectly matched to the overall architectural concept and the desired psychological color effect. Different slip-resistance classes with the same appearance also enable visually uniform floor design in areas with different hygiene and safety requirements, e.g. between classrooms, corridors and sanitary facilities.

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Today swimming is cancelled once again? Not here! In Vogelsang, the school swimming pool of the elementary school was renovated and given an expressive design with surefootedness with the round mosaic of the Loop series from Agrob Buchtal. Planning: Architekturbüro Mix, Schwäbisch hall (Photo: Agrob Buchtal/Daniel Zehnder)

Ceramic tiles create a healthy indoor climate

Among the many functional requirements that ceramic tiles fulfill in educational buildings is their harmlessness to health: they do not cause any vapors or emissions, thus ensuring a healthy, allergen-free environment. Ceramic tiles from Agrob Buchtal have another unique property: if they are provided with the Hytect surface finish, which activates natural processes to clean the air of nitrogen oxides and odors, for example.

The latter plays a particularly important role in sanitary, changing and shower rooms. Added to this is an antimicrobial effect due to a specially developed form of titanium dioxide. It is applied at high heat in the manufacturing process of the ceramic and fuses inseparably and permanently with the material - unlike most other building materials with such coatings, titanium dioxide is bound in a closed surface here. In addition, the Hytect ceramic naturally releases active oxygen in interaction with light and oxygen, which inhibits the growth of mold, viruses and bacteria directly on the surface. At the same time, water forms an ultra-thin film on this ceramic that washes away dirt and grease, making the tiles extremely easy to clean. All these properties make the material ideal not only for interiors, but also for weathered or building envelopes.

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Kreuzschule elementary school in the old stadium, Regensburg (planning: sdks Architekten, Darmstadt) with the Nova floor tile. Whether refectory, study room or study room - taking a break, learning together, having a chat: there is always the right atmosphere here (Photo: Agrob Buchtal/Herbert Bürger)

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Kirchberg Castle School, Baden-Württemberg: KeraShape ceramic tubes from Agrob Buchtal not only give the building a unique appearance. They provide protection from sunlight and have a cooling effect. Planning: Architekturbüro Mix, Schwäbisch Hall (Photo: Agrob Buchtal/Andreas Bohle).

Ceramics in the facade

Facade ceramics can be used in tubular or angular form, as a tile or as a custom molded part, and can appear in a wide variety of colors and surface textures - as ventilated facade constructions as well as permanently bonded, e.g. as the top layer of a composite thermal insulation system (ETICS). Ceramics are colorfast and lightfast and can potentially be used anywhere in and on the building. The material facilitates the embedding of buildings in the urban environment; it enables precise and subtle transitions between inside and outside. This is one of the reasons why ceramic components are particularly suitable for holistic architectural concepts, which educators refer to as the "third teacher,"
since they support cooperative learning methods spatially, colorfully, sensually.

Re-use + Renovation + Recycling = Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile goes with everything. The mineral base material is almost completely processed in production, can be reused as a recycled material in new forms and applications, and is naturally degradable as a system for ventilated facades. Made from natural clay, ceramic elements always offer an ecologically compatible solution that is also economical in terms of longevity.

Old buildings whose (building) technical systems, escape routes and interior fittings no longer comply with today's state of the art and legislation, can be built around every corner and curve with ceramic tiles. Facades that are inadequate in terms of building physics, outdated and unhygienic sanitary facilities, and worn wall and floor coverings all benefit from the color and design diversity of ceramic tiles, which also competently incorporate attached cafeterias, multifunctional auditoriums, gymnasiums, and swimming pools into the overall concept of future-proof learning worlds. Unlike other materials such as vinyl or fiber cement, the versatile "school material" is acid-resistant and always retains its color intensity and luminosity even after cleaning with harsh cleaning agents.

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KeraShape ceramic tubes filter most of the sunlight reflected into the interior at Ammattioposto Live, a college and training center for the blind in Espoo, Finland, and provide ideal support in the education of visually impaired students. Planning: Linja Linja Arkkitehhdit Oy, Helsinki (Photo: Agrob Buchtal/Sonja Meskanen, Lempäälä)