Foliage and filigree: a singular school

School building and sports hall in Schoeneberg, Berlin, by architect Hinrich Baller

A school visit might not sound like much of a Berlin highlight, but for architecture lovers - and anyone keen to savour some of the city's less conventional sights - the Spreewald-Grundschule certainly makes the grade.

Designed by Hinrich Baller, one of Berlin's most distinctive contemporary architects, the curiously compelling 1998 complex owes obvious allegiances to architectural movements such as Jugendstil or practitioners such as Gaudí.

Yet there's also something uniquely individual about this rather madcap amalgamation of styles, shapes and materials, which, with its strong emphasis on organic forms, pretty much looks as if it's actually sprouted from the surrounding garden of dense foliage.

Berlin architecture - Hinrich Baller

Whether you end up loving or loathing this Berlin landmark (and it's unlikely to leave you simply indifferent) it definitely scores high in the individuality stakes.

And given that it's located just a few steps from the well-tramelled tourist hub of Nollendorfplatz, popping by for a quick visit can easily be incorporated into a more standard sightseeing itinerary.

A contemporary take on Jugendstil - school building in Berlin

See also:
Berlin's satellite dish gallery
Chocolate box charm

Further facts

Ornate, aqua-coloured metalwork is a signature feature of Hinrich Baller's architectural designs, and sharp-eyed visitors will recognise these trademark traits in an almost adjacent building, the apartment block at Winterfeldtstraße 39 (constructed 1999).

Elsewhere in Berlin, another two buildings by Baller are (again) located in close proximity to each other on Charlottenburg's Schloßstraße, while various other works are distributed throughout the capital.

Easily the most visited Baller extravaganza, however, are the renovated Rosenhöfe, part of the Hackesche Höfe courtyard complex in Berlin's Mitte.

Spreewald-Grundschule: Pallasstraße 15, 10781 Berlin

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