‘Help me to help myself!’

That was the motto of Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor and reformist educationalist in the early 20th century. According to the Montessori philosophy, pupils learn in a self-determined way and at their own pace. If children learn at their own volition, they learn in a particularly effective and focused way. The concept of the new bilingual Montessori school in Ingelheim pursues this goal.

Troldtekt, Montessori School Ingelheim
Photo: Markus Bachmann

The modern and future-oriented building designed by sander.hofrichter architects can accommodate about 400 students in the primary and secondary school and satisfies the requirements for operating as a full-time school. The promotion of open teaching and independent study, as well as the ability to develop skills independently, away from the auspices of adults, is what drives Montessori pedagogy; it also places special demands on the classrooms and architecture.

The study environment consists of classes and clusters, as well as differentiation corridors, which can be used for independent work.  The cafeteria, the heart of the school, is reached through the break hall. Departmental rooms and spaces for the range of motion and relaxation programmes offered by the full-time school are labelled with large letters - ‘Motion’, ‘Crafts’, ‘Textile Design’, and ‘Library’. They provide an overview of the diverse range of opportunities and guide the students to their rooms. Light wells create a very special atmosphere in the music room and the student kitchen on the lower level.

The choice of materials is simple. The grey concrete walls are juxtaposed with warmly-toned doors made of solid wood, with strong, green, needs-adapted fittings and acoustic panels made of wood and cement. Fitted on the ceilings and walls, the Troldtekt panels create pleasant room acoustics. They enhance an appealing atmosphere and thus contribute to the ideal conditions required to optimally promote the learning process. At the same time, the ceiling elements, in conjunction with the tone-in-tone matching ‘tongues’ in the floor, direct students towards the important functional areas and are also an installation level of the lighting system.