HomeSun protectionColourful large louvre blades as design elements

Colourful large louvre blades as design elements

Colourful large louvre blades as design elements

Elementary school building of the German School of Athens (GR)

Colourful large louvre blades as design elements

Spatial restructuring, structural addition and visual harmonisation through the façade were among the key objectives of the most recent extension to the German School of Athens (Deutsche Schule Athen). The architect responsible for the design, Alexandra Kalliri, varied the appearance of the façade by offsetting the fine, horizontal structure of the slimline natural timber units against the vertical arrangement of the wide, brightly coloured large louvre blades of the active Schüco Large Louvre Blade System ALB.

Founded in 1896, the German School of Athens is a German international school comprising a kindergarten, an elementary school and a high school which is split into a German and a Greek section. German and Greek teachers at the school teach around 1150 pupils of both nationalities. Following the successful Federal-State Inspection of German Schools Abroad (BLI) in 2013, the German School of Athens was awarded the quality seal of “Excellent German School Abroad”, which currently around 110 of the 140 German international schools are entitled to bear.

Fourth extension since 1988

Before the most recent extension, the existing building of the German School of Athens was characterised by its three different construction phases. During the first phase, the single-storey initial building was constructed (1988); in the second phase, another storey was added (2001); in the third phase, the building was structurally reinforced (2009). Due to the different construction phases, Athens-born architect Alexandra Kalliri was faced with a complex, heterogeneous building as the basis for her design. This resulted in the complicated task of not only creating a new building, but also incorporating the functional and design aspects of the existing structure into a homogeneous school ensemble. The general stylistic specifications of the client and education board, the German School Association of Athens, stipulated contemporary, sustainable and above all environmentally-friendly architecture.

The entrance hall was relocated and enlarged, so that it reflects the new size and increased capacity of the school. It is now directly linked to the schoolyard and to a new multi-purpose space, which also opens out directly onto the schoolyard. Due to the two existing stairwells, the new third floor follows the structure of the storeys below it.

Colourful large louvre blades characterise and structure the façades

The building has an L-shaped floor plan. Each wing has a different colour – blue for the entrance wing, red/orange RAL shades for the vertical wing. The building was designed to be bioclimatic, with the thermally insulated external walls being fitted with a new timber curtain wall throughout, which is divided into storeys by ribbon windows with sun shading louvre blades. The elektromechanically controlled louvre blades manage how much sunlight enters the classrooms – they optimise the amount of natural light and provide effective protection against overheating in the warmer months.

The interplay of colour, materials and structures in the façades has a lively yet orderly effect. The slimline timber panels lend the surfaces a fine horizontal structure; a “micro scale” which, according to the architect, is particularly popular in pre-schools and elementary schools. The wide, vertically arranged sun shading louvre blades form a contrast to this in terms of structure and material and, through the interplay of colours and their movement in relation to the sun, they breathe constant life and variety into the façades.
A ventilation system provides the rooms with fresh air in winter. The lighting in the classrooms is controlled automatically depending on the amount of natural light. In the adjoining rooms (e.g. the toilets), the lighting is controlled by motion sensors.

The outdoor spaces and the building were re-designed to have step-free access throughout. The garden was replanted and equipped with a new play area, where the pupils can have lots of fun between lessons.

Finger-trap protection through individual system programming

When the external sun shading was being designed, a great deal of attention was paid to the range of motion of the individual louvre blades. The most important consideration in this regard was preventative finger-trap protection. It was possible to implement this essential safety function by individually programming the Schüco sun shading control system to ensure that the louvre blade groups never completely close.

Behind the louvre blades and elsewhere in the building, Schüco system technology also provides lighting, visibility and security. The window units are from the Schüco AWS 65 system family and for the doors, single and double-leaf system units from the Schüco ADS 65 HD range were used. Finally, multiple fire-resistant door units from the Schüco ADS 80 FR60 series were used to form fire zones, which offer protection from fire, smoke and heat radiation for 60 minutes in the event of a fire.

On 16 June 2016, the new elementary school building of the German School of Athens was officially opened.

Project details

Project title: Elementary school building of the German School of Athens (Deutsche Schule Athen) (GR)
Client: German School Association of Athens (Deutscher Schulverein Athen) (educational board) with funding from the German Federal Foreign Office
Architect: Alexandra Kalliri, Athens (general planning, design and site management),
Fabricator: (For the sun shading and the window, door and fire-resistant units) Special Projects & Safety (SP-S S.A.), Athens,

Schüco products
Sun shading: Schüco Large Louvre Blades ALB active with 255 mm louvre blades in different RAL colours
Windows: Schüco AWS 65
Doors: Schüco ADS 65 HD
Fire-resistant door units: Schüco ADS 80 FR60

Schüco – System solutions for windows, doors and façades
Together with its worldwide network of metal, PVC-U and electrical partners, as well as architects, specifiers and investors, Schüco creates sustainable building envelopes that focus on people and their needs in harmony with nature and technology. Metal and PVC-U window, door and façade solutions from Schüco meet the highest requirements in terms of design, comfort and security. At the same time, CO2 emissions are reduced through energy efficiency, thereby conserving natural resources. The company delivers tailored products for newbuilds and renovations, designed to meet individual user needs in all climate zones. Everyone involved is supported with a comprehensive range of services at every stage of the construction process. With 4630 employees and 12,000 partner companies, Schüco is active in more than 80 countries and achieved a turnover of 1.430 billion euros in 2015. For more information, visit

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