Rudolf Schroeder

Architect of Pavilion Schools


Born in 1897, German modernist, Rudolf Schroeder, will be remembered for his contribution to the reconstruction of the harbour city of Kiel and the creation of the city’s Pavilion Schools after the Second World War.

Studying architecture in Hanover and Stuttgart, Schroeder graduated as a master builder in 1927. His first significant role in Kiel was as Head of the Department of Building and Construction, rising to the level of Director. He will be best remembered for his post-war construction of schools, he was amongst the first, after 1945, to once again embrace the idea of the ‘Pavilion School’ and was later recognised as one of the leading lights in the interpretation of the movement’s aims.


Max Planck School, Kiel

During the Weimar era, the Pavilion School movement flourished, informed by Bruno Taut and his peers’ interest in and development of, educational architecture. They were looking at how the design of a building can impact a pupil and teacher’s experience. Nearly 20 years later, Rudolf Schroeder, grappling with an education system in Kiel (like the rest of the country) that had to be dismantled from the Nazi-era and rebuilt, ensured that the Pavilion School movement had its German moment with him as the leading light. Politically, West Germany wanted to move away from the militaristic, barrack-like school buildings, particularly prevalent in a naval city like Kiel, schools that echoed Germany’s imperial sense of self. For history buffs, it is the 1918 revolt by sailors, the so-called ‘Kiel Mutiny’ that is said to have triggered the November Revolution.


Friedrich Junge School, Kiel

Schroeder’s schools placed a lot of emphasis on the movement of the pupil around the classrooms and corridors, which in turn impacted on their sense of being part of a community. He paid special attention to the natural surroundings, seeking out sites for schools close to parkland and extended grounds. This allowed for teaching outdoors as well as in.

Selected buildings:

1931 Schroeder’s family home in Heikendorf (featured image)*

1948-50 Goethe School, Kiel

1949 Reconstruction Kiel Town Hall

1950-53 Friedrich Junge School, Kiel*

1952-54 Max Planck School, Kiel

1952-56 Theodor Storm School, Kiel,

1955-58 Hebbel School, Kiel

1957-62 Ricarda Huch School, Kiel

* Images Segbert Brey CC BY SA 4.0

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