Vocational Colleges at Dortmunder U

The Robert Bosch Vocational College, the new Robert Schuman Vocational College, an auditorium and a centre for the creative industries are located immediately adjacent to the Dortmunder U, the centre for art and creativity, on a 20,000 m² parcel on the historic site of the Dortmunder Union brewery. Open visual references, interlinked pathways and a differentiated urban concept supported by the use of reddish long-format brick for the façades characterize the design of Gerber Architekten. The concept lifts the entire area from its current inhospitality and establishes the important connection to the city. It emphasizes the iconic presence and national significance of the free standing Dortmunder U. Designed as separate buildings with their own entrances, the vocational schools are linked by the auditorium and conference rooms between the schoolyards on the ground floor levels. The roof of the auditorium slopes above the square. It also serves as a lively seating area for open-air events. The Competence Centre is designed for flexible use. The central axis of supply and disposal and the entrance to the car park are located along the boundary to the railway in the northern end of the construction site. The main square is accessible from each floor and becomes the focus of the overall concept – the entrances of the vocational schools and the competence centre are oriented towards the square. The architectural game with the topography is consistently continued inside of the buildings, while spacious foyers and open staircases fulfil the functional requirements of direct access.


Integration into the urban context

A large, elongated outdoor staircase on the eastern edge parallel to Brinkhoffstrasse shows pedestrians coming from Nordstadt the way into the U district at an early stage. School playgrounds and a central urban square stretch out between the buildings. The existing topography of the site is utilised specifically for the spatial and functional design of the urban ensemble. A simple two-bundle concept for the colleges enables a proportioned organisation of the building masses. Alternating building heights create the intended small scale, form functionally related college areas and maintain a visual reference, such as that from the train, looking onto the Dortmunder U. Alongside the railway, the Robert-Schuman-Berufskolleg forms the northern end of the entire area as a block and is located at the level of the access situation of the U-tower and competence centre.

Square design

The Robert-Bosch-Berufskolleg takes up the property boundaries to the west on Ritterstrasse as well as the access area to the U-Tower to the south and is designed as an angle. Its schoolyard is one storey lower. Externally designed as separate structures with their own entrances, both colleges are spatially and functionally connected on the lower ground floor between the different schoolyard levels by a cross-college area with an auditorium and conference rooms, whose rising roof enlivens the urban square and, when used as a grandstand, invites people to open-air events.

Competence centre

Located in the south-eastern part of the site on Brinkhoffstrasse, the competence centre, developed as a solitaire, has a space-defining effect and marks the entrance to the U district. The building is designed for flexible use. A reception area is provided on the ground floor, while an open-plan floor area can be used in different ways on each floor – from cellular offices to open-plan spaces, customised layouts are possible. A solid core provides all relevant utilities such as access, sanitary facilities, electricity and data. The central supply and disposal axis and garage access are located in the northern area of the construction site along the railway tracks.

The central supply and disposal axis and garage access road are located in the northern area of the building site along the railway area. A large car park with 510 parking spaces on three levels is housed in the part of the building from Brinkhoffstrasse to the east side of the assembly hall, which is only visible as a plinth. An opening through all garage levels accommodates the main access with stairs and a lift and ensures natural ventilation and good orientation. The main urban square is accessible to pedestrians from every floor. It becomes the centre of the entire complex, with entrances to the vocational colleges and the competence centre facing it. The architectural interplay with the topography is also continued inside the buildings with a spacious foyer and staircases – functionally, the requirements for a large number of rooms accessible at ground level are taken into account.

Location Dortmund, Germany
PPP 2008
Construction 2013–2016
GFA 55,915 m²
GV 191,957 m³
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