Zonnehof schools, Duivendrecht


Asko & St. Oop

Urban design
Danny Edwards

Theo Kupers, architect & A2Studio



3.400 sq m

two elementary schools under one roof

This design brings together two different schools under one roof, without compromising their individual identities. Each school has a separate entrance with its own playgrounds. Within the more generic structure of the building, the internal organisation of each school has been custom designed. As a result, two entirely different spatial settings co-exist inside the building. The public elementary school De Grote Beer is organised into a number of educational clusters around separate learning plazas, while the A. Bekemaschool has compact classrooms or ‘base camps’ around large central learning plazas. Atriums in both schools connect different levels and help people find their way. The two classrooms on the top floor of the building can be used for arts and crafts, but also as extra classrooms for other subjects. Various types of skylights admit daylight into the heart of the schools. In combination with restrained material and colour choices, this contributes to a bright, clear learning environment.

The building is in dialogue with its lush natural surroundings and resembles a differentiated and distinctive sculpture. The individual character of each school is expressed in the three-dimensional form of the building, and the use of materials in the exterior walls plays with this idea. Around the building, light and dark brick wall sections alternate. Entrances are accentuated with other, brightly coloured materials that stand out. The aluminium façade sections are like the eyes of the building, open, outward-looking and transparent. But they also draw the outside word into the interior of the school.

The plazas are surrounded by lush hedges with various types of bushes. The domains of the two schools open out onto the green play areas and the adjacent natural playground. The plants and shrubs now present will be thoroughly tended to, so that the schoolyards receive plenty of sunlight and a safe social environment is guaranteed. The green moss-and-sedum roof will help the building to blend into its natural setting, both from close by and when viewed from the surrounding high-rises.

Photography: Roos Aldershof

download pdf