A former castle domain that serves as a green campus with education for extremely varied age groups – this is an idea that certainly fires the imagination. Now that the buildings of the ’T Beekje infant school are ripe for replacement, there is an opportunity to reinforce the character of the location by adapting the new construction to the setting.
The situation lends itself to concentrating the new school in a compact building that is positioned in such a way that it offers a maximum of transparency as well as a view of the surrounding greenery.
The principles articulated in the Pedagogic Project and the School vision are so compelling that they had to form the guidelines for the architectonic brief.
The combination of the location and the programme led to the concept of a helix-like cylinder, which is an archetypical form concept that is extremely compact as well as ensuring a timeless, universal character.
This form combines a maximum orientation to the surroundings with the introvert intimacy that the school community needs. In terms of content, the helix is also an appropriate choice. In its provision of education, the school aims at generating involvement with one’s fellow humans, with society, and with nature. The floor plan assigns the polyvalent area of the school a central position. This area forms the heart of life within the school and thus the community that the school represents. The classrooms are situated around this, and form a spiral in which a relatively minor height difference of 25 cm per classroom is realized.
The form and supporting structure of the building make it possible to vary the layout and to add new classrooms without eroding the compactness.
Sustainability is the leading concept in both the materialization and the technical fittings. Environment-friendly, recyclable materials, a sophisticated ventilation and heating system, and a large degree of flexibility ensure that this building is good for the environment and, perhaps more importantly, good for the children and their teachers.
Paul de Vroom partner in charge DKV architecten