winner Environment Prize, Secondary Education, of the School Building Prize 2008
This is a two-yearly client prize. With this the central point is the ‘building in its context’. Established by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Arts and Science.
The Insula College is part of the Leerpark (‘Learning Park’), an urban ensemble of schools and companies in Dordrecht. With a main layout of three patios, the building combines an unexpected spatiality with a large degree of flexibility, thus accommodating current and future modifications to secondary school education.
In the design, the conventional set-up with classrooms has been abandoned in favour of an open structure of freely arrangeable floor areas with columns. The three patios differ strongly in format and architectonic elaboration and, as such, furnish the space with an identity without imposing a hierarchy in the layout. They enable light to penetrate deep into the building.
The entrance patio forms a gradual transition between public space and the inner world of the school. Large glass pivot doors mark the boundary of both worlds, but their transparency ensures a strong relationship between outside and in. The large glass surfaces in the façade also contribute to this interaction.
Inside, the sense of community is the major factor. Besides the auditorium, the halls and corridors have been designed in such a way that they offer the opportunity for informal encounters. The interior has been kept consistently simple and radiates a calm ambience.
The exhibition area belongs to the more extravert educational activities that are situated on the Leerpassage (‘Learning corridor’) on the ground floor. The open structure here allows the area to contribute to the lively atmosphere of the immediate environment.
The Leerpark is an exceptional combination of schools, (training) companies, facilities, and housing. In the urban plan, all the functions have been grouped around the centrally-situated green Leerboulevard (‘Learning Boulevard’).
Paul de Vroom and Roel Bosch partners in charge DKV architecten