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Our school buildings are a scandal of neglect and inhumane architecture

ASSELMEYER ARCHITECT Hamburg: Making identity architecture tangible in school construction – “Stop just refurbishing, let’s finally start designing schools”.

Making identity tangible in school architecture  Hamburg – There are currently around 40,000 school buildings in Germany. Many of them already well over 100 years old. It seems clear that many of the buildings do not even begin to correspond to the findings of modern didactics or pedagogical architecture. “Our school buildings are a scandal. Most company employees would refuse to work in such spaces. But our children and millions and millions of students are being asked to do this every day. Currently, only a kind of unforgivable stain carpet remediation. Our concept of modern school architecture is radical and is: every student is a V.I.P., a very individual person and must be treated as such. For God’s sake, our children must be worth that to us,” says Hamburg-based architect Justus Asselmeyer, who is committed to human architecture and architecture with identity – his goal is clear: to make identity architecture a tangible experience in school construction.
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Each student is a V.I.P. – very individual person

The immensely high investment backlog of around 45 billion euros in school construction (according to the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau KfW, as of 2020) currently resulting from this neglect is an indictment of Germany. Asselmeyer therefore wants to initiate a fundamental change in the architectural design of school buildings. “Let’s finally stop simply renovating disastrous classrooms, the learning space for students is the most important space between action and interaction and instrumental for learning success. We finally need to fundamentally rethink schools architecturally in the 21st century. Because every student and teacher is a V.I.P., a very individual person, who deserves to learn and work in a use-optimized and dignified architecture, in which people feel comfortable and can develop,” says the expert.

The first question in school construction must be: For whom is it being built?

For Asselmeyer, renovation today usually just means: a new coat of paint on old masonry that has actually long since become unusable. Regardless of whether it is a renovation or a new building: For the basic evaluation and the first conception phase in a school project, the most important question is “for whom”! “You have to ask yourself as a builder and architect the question: Who are the students who will use this building? Who are the teachers? What is the regional and thematic focus of the building? But above all, what is unique about this one school and its pedagogical concept? An architect must know and understand how students learn best and what environment is necessary to make that happen. Only those who know how buildings affect people have understood their meaning,” says Justus Asselmeyer, who coined the term identity architecture.

Making identity tangible in architecture and buildings

With over 15 years of experience in national and international architectural branding and the realization of major building projects in Germany, the USA and worldwide, the architectural firm ASSELMEYER ARCHITEKT was founded in Hamburg in the corona year 2021. Says Asselmeyer, “We treat each project and each client like a big brand and try to generate the greatest possible architectural impact and the many resulting added values of a building. In any case, good architecture promotes identity, personality, emotion, belonging, functionality, user orientation, etc.”

Building architects, planners, but also communication strategists!

The demands on modern architecture are changing more and more. Today, especially in public architecture and commercial real estate for companies, more is required than pure, cold functionality. “In my architectural practice, at the beginning of every architectural process, the focus is never on development plans, area determinations or technical standards, but always on the human being as the user of the property. It is about the understanding and identity of the client and what he intends with the building and what message the future building will send to its users, passers-by and the entire environment over the entire, usually very long period of its existence. It doesn’t matter whether it’s private clients, companies, global brands, organizations, municipalities or government clients,” says Dipl.-Ing. architect Justus Asselmeyer to the concept of his identity architecture, which develops concepts and building projects for municipalities, cities, communities (e.g. museums, cultural buildings, schools, sports and leisure facilities, community centers, motivation and integration buildings, traffic buildings, infrastructure concepts, etc.) economy, brands, industry and commerce (e.g. corporate headquarters, company locations, brand representations, production facilities, flagship stores, trade fair construction, etc.) and private clients.

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