De Zwarte Hond transforms former textile manufacturing site into vocational school campus

De Zwarte Hond has won a major competition in Bremen with the design of a new campus on the former Bremer Woll-Kämmerei (BWK) site in the northern city district of Blumenthal. The campus will accommodate five vocational schools, where 300 teachers and 4.000 students will work and study, and a ‘craft park’ with businesses related to the schools.

De Zwarte Hond competed with two agencies from Bremen: Forum L and Westphal. The jury unanimously voted in favour of De Zwarte Hond and praised the successful urban integration of the vocational schools with the neighbouring companies and the rest of Blumenthal. The jury commented: “The urban planning concept is innovative, the development steps have numerous options, offer a high degree of flexibility and are adaptable according to the development and implementation period. The design does justice to the special location of the BWK site through a skilful combination of historical substance and future-oriented architecture.” Kristina Vogt, Bremen’s alderman for Economy, Work and Europe, is enthusiastic as well: “The plan offers the opportunity to connect vocational training campuses, commercial use and the neighbourhood. This is a good development for Blumenthal.”

Old and new
Five vocational schools will be built on the new campus:

  • building technology
  • garden and landscape design
  • metal construction
  • metal and electrical engineering
  • home economics and social pedagogy

New buildings will be built for three schools, and two schools will combine new and old buildings. Characteristic buildings, such as the former sorting building, will be retained. in De Zwarte Hond's plan, various features of the old buildings are reflected in the architecture of the new buildings. For example the window sizes, the form of the building and the building materials. But there are contrasts as well: the brick facades of the historic buildings will be juxtaposed with wooden facades of the new buildings. in addition to the vocational schools, there will be a ‘craft park’ on campus with companies that are closely connected with these educational institutes.

Roof with a view
To improve connections with the rest of the city, a new path will be created between the campus and Blumenthal station. Walking from the station people will have a good view of the old factory buildings. Along the path there will be a new parking garage with a sloped roof that creates a grandstand where students and residents can meet; in summer the grandstand can double as an open-air cinema.

Economic development
Andreas Heyer, CEO of Bremeninvest, the official service provider for trade and industry in Bremen, is enthusiastic about the development of the campus: “With the vocational school campus, the existing historic buildings on the BWK site are given meaningful and locally significant new uses. This opens up new development prospects for the commercial area and the centre of Blumenthal. On the remaining areas of the site, we want to merge craft and small-scale trade seamlessly into the campus. The location could benefit from this as a professional and skills cluster.”

The first construction phase is planned for completion before the 22/23 school year. in total, the planned transformation will take around ten years.