Ratzburg Schools Campus by MIKOU Design Studio, Germany

Paris based office, Mikou Design Studio designed this building, during a competition last year for a new campus in Ratzeburg, Germany.

The new schools complex in Ratzeburg is located in a mainly residential cityscape, in the middle of an area of low-density detached housing, characterised by brick architecture and pitched roofs that make up the neighbourhood’s identity.

This schools complex includes an existing specialised school, a primary school and a lower form secondary school, and it aims to be a strong, identifiable landmark in its urban setting, on the scale of the city of Ratzeburg and the county of Lauenburg.

Our scheme was designed to free the site for building the primary and secondary schools with a new architectural expression, in contrast with the surrounding built environment, to represent both the institutional function of these amenities and their new educational requirements.

The main aim of our scheme was to design and develop schools amenities within a consistent, uniform architectural whole which creates spatial centrality with a shared common core while clearly identifying each of the schools.

To meet the requirements of the brief for creating empty spaces for school playgrounds and to protect some existing trees, we designed the primary and secondary school buildings with free, flowing forms that sensitively link together the project’s internal and external spaces and which describe a sensual, organic figure on the site.

An overall view of the scheme’s layout is very organic, reminiscent of a plant pattern with a very strongly marked central core and branches that extend towards the site’s boundaries and contain spaces for the various school functions.

Therefore the proposed scheme opens onto its urban setting through its large courtyards with their undulating, generous forms that alternate with the rhythm of the various primary and secondary school units.

This configuration provides the neighbourhood with transversal viewpoints of varying proximity and visual landmarks that make the new schools complex a major asset in the urban composition.

Architect: Mikou Design Studio
Salwa Mikou, Selma Mikou, Iskra Pencheva, Naori Yamozoe, Cécile Jalby, Alessandra Annoni, Samiel Musolino, Dan Vavassori
Client: City of Ratzeburg
Program: Specialised school, secondary school, campus
Budget: 28 M €
Surface: 16 000 sqm
Location: Ratzeburg, Germany
Date: competition 2009

Mikou Design Studio, is a young and succesfull architecture office founded in 2005 by sisters Selwa en Salma Mikou based in paris, France.

Mikou Design Studio is a place of creation and experimentation in architecture and its inter-disciplinary cross-fertilisation. They work in a continuous workshop spirit with a multidisciplinary team of architects, engineers, graphic artists, scenographers and town planners from very different cultural backgrounds.

Every project is an excuse for re-questioning and redefining the meaning of a brief, a function, and an urban, social and human context, in order to invent new ways of living, places for sharing and gathering that are more sensitive and more sensual, and which stimulate feelings.

There aim is to get away from preconceptions of form and function in order to transmit more and better. ‘Our philosophy would be how to give more’.

How to reach the fourth dimension, that of sensitive spatial perceptions, of communication and reconciliation between people through the cross-fertilisation of imaginations, whereby everyone can interpret and live a space in their own way, with an infinite number of possible appropriations.

Because a building is above all a place of giving.

The two partners, Salwa and Selma Mikou were born in Fes Marocco in 1975. After attending school in Paris (Paris Belleville) and Lausanne (EPFL), they received their diploma on Architecture and Urban design in 2000. During 2000 to 2005 they worked at RPBW (Renzo Piano Building workshop) and AJN (Ateliers Jean Nouvel) where they were in charge of international projects.

They co-founded Mikou Design Studio in 2005. Mikou Design Studio is currently involved in a large number of projects throughout France, Germany, Brazil and Morocco, with a focus on cultural, educational buildings, housing and offices.

Special thanks to Selma for sharing!


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