Jüdische Mädchenschule, or Jewish girls' school, was built in Berlin in 1930 by architect Alexander Beer. By 1942, when the Nazis turned it into a military hospital, most of the students who once roamed its halls had been deported; Beer died at the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1944. In 2009, the building was given to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany; Berlin's Jewish community is in charge of its use. Today, the Jüdische Mädchenschule is once again a lively place, now home to Pauly-Saal, a restaurant.
The old school's gymnasium is now a fancy dining room, where diners are served delicious meals, partly prepared with produce grown in the restaurant's garden, according to a review by Cool Hunting. There's nothing especially "green" about Pauly-Saal, except for the most important thing.
We've noted over and over that "the greenest brick is the one already in the wall" (and now we have cold hard proof). Following that mantra, the renovated building (which also houses a deli and art galleries) saved more energy and materials than any highfalutin, LEED-certified structure built in the last few years.
Truly green buildings are built to last; they change functions. They are resilient, not just sustainable. Whether or not it can ease painful and dark memories, the new life given to this Berlin school is good for the planet and people, too.