The colourful building is situated at the northwestern end of an open woodland plot, which provides for a sunny playground and sports fields situated at its front rather, as is more traditional, behind it. The school is approached by well-lit roads: the principle of “see and to be seen” was an important aspect of its designs, explains project architect Jaap van Es, from Van den Berg Kruisheer Elffers Architecten, Rotterdam.

Being as it is in competition with other local schools, the school’s distinctive character and identity are also of great importance: “Recognition, relevance, authenticity and cohesion of the various educational elements of the school” are all said to play an essential role in the finished building, across its healthcare, sports and general secondary education facilities.

“The school also has to be future-proof and durable in exploitation’, van Es says, as “the current space requirements could change completely within five years”.

The mass of the building is compact yet light. Using mezzanines, peepholes and skylights provide an interaction between the different floors and the surrounding landscape. “The compact stacking of functions are designed to make the school dynamic and exiting”, van Es adds, while the “lightness of the building provides quietness and relaxation”.

Overhangs at the front allow the outside to come into the building as well as providing sheltered spaces, and notches above allow daylight to flood into the top floor.

Columns, “wet spaces”, stairs and lifts are the only fixed elements within this essentially open-plan building. Two inner gymnasium spaces are divided by a movable acoustic wall. This space can be used as one large gym, and also as a theatre, a room in which examination can be sat, or for events such as parties. The use of glass in inside walls at crucial points reinforces the “see and be seen” theme of the school’s design.

The façade, installed by Princecladding Benelux, comprises a combination of glazing, panels of colorcoat HPS200 Ultra steel cladding from Tata Steel, in various colours, and Colorcoat Prisma in metallic colour Sirius. Horizontal lines at the floor edges comprise an inlet for natural ventilation, as well as hiding exterior blinds.

The façade is said to “accentuate the sculptural character of the entire compact form of the structure” and to treat the school as “a coherent whole”. In contrast with the sculptural abstraction of the outside, says its architect, the inside of this building is “surprisingly open, transparent and spacious”.

Products: Colorcoat HPS200 Ultra, various colours and Colorcoat Prisma in metallic colour Sirius

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