The school was originally constructed in 1974/75 as a prefabricated concrete building. When the decision was taken to completely revamp the grammar school following German reunification, Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser agreed to act as planner. After its radical refurbishment, the school was reopened on 28 May 1999.
The building’s exterior is typical of Hundertwasser’s philosophy. The ‘eyes’ of the building (i.e. the windows) all have their own unique design with no two alike. Straight lines were replaced by onion domes and colourful, organically shaped ceramics. Old materials were recycled for environmental reasons, and alongside the building’s human users, trees were incorporated as ‘tenants and partners’.
Inside, Hundertwasser’s thinking was continued by pupils and teachers. Each floor has its own colour scheme, and together they reflect the four elements fire, water, earth and air. The interior has been augmented by works of art by professional artists.
Far more than just a remodelled building, a brand new habitat with a stimulating learning environment and plenty of scope for creativity emerged. Moreover, the far-sightedness of the project is underlined by the inclusion of an observatory!