For De Velduil in Houten we designed a bio-based primary school with daycare center, out-of-school care and a sports hall. Sustainability is an integral part of the design. Both the construction and facade are made of wood, we use bio-based materials, apply nature inclusive measurements and design an Energy Neutral Building and Healthy School building.
By dividing the program in two compact square volumes, the school and the sports hall, we create a place that enhances the green environment. The green park flows between the two building volumes. The compact buildings give space to a sustainable green playground. This space encircles the school and strengthens the connection between neighborhood and park.
The school has been rotate 45 degrees in relation to the north-south axis. This gives an optimal climate zoning inside the building and decreases the temperature differences within the school. The building has no pure south or north facade. Also the central positioning on the plot gives the school representative facades on all sides. The school only has front sides and entrances everywhere!
The simple square shape of the school acquires its identity by using recognisable arch shapes in facade openings and roof edge. This form gives a playful and welcome identity. Along each facade we placed a special tower shape to enhance the facade composition. They include individual learning spaces, storage or escape stairs.
The facade of the school, the towers and all window frames are made of untreated sustainable wood. The insulation value of the entire building has been increased above building regulation level and in the facade you will find numerous nest boxes. Around the school we planted a strip with perennials, flowers and high grasses. They form a colourful and scented buffer between school and playground.
The floor plan shows a compact school with short walking routes and recognisable clusters. Located in the centre you will find the double height community space with playroom and kitchen. From here you reach the four education clusters. Each cluster consists of a education plaza with multiple classrooms. The school consists of 20 classrooms of which half is reserved for special education. Big doors connect the classrooms with eachother and with the learning plaza creating potential for a wide variety of flexible uses.
The whole building is ordered by a rigid construction grid with a short constructive span. This constructive lay-out has been a prerequisite for the whole design process. In order to enable a wooden and bio-based school within a rational education budget. To make this beautiful wooden construction visible in the interior we integrated all installations within a continuous architectural cove.