Two existing schools in two neighbouring locations in Maastricht are merging into a new school on a new location in that city. This particular location was chosen to strengthen the weak social structure of the two neighbourhoods and to introduce a new digital education system to learn also more about the environment, nature and sustainability. Even the playground outside has different zones to help children (re)discover nature and explore their world by means of experiments or to build and test objects.
World Architecture & Design Awards 2019
Second Award | Category: Institutional
Architects: Misak Terzibasiyan
Country: The Netherlands
The digital way of teaching is for the most part paperless (virtual), which is represented in the architecture of the building. It shows a brick element with random messages in binary code (1 and 0) on the façade, as a reflection of this digitalized education system and the virtual reality in which we live today. The façade acts as the messenger of our digital world. Not in a direct, obvious way but more indirect, by the irregular placing of the bricks in patterns.
This is a school that holds a kindergarten, a primary school, a gym, out-of-school child care and a library. A school with five different types of users that work closely together to combine environmental and digital teaching to reach a new level of education. The concept of environmental teaching can be found on different levels, from virtual reality to the building itself, making it the green and modern digital school.
Both the school and the building are not designed around a classically organized educational system but around the concept of free movement and free use of spaces. We used the concept of a flock of birds to predict the movement of the users (children) through the building, which is how we designed the various spaces in the school. The educational space in the school is not limited to the classrooms but can continue in different open spaces with a different purpose. This open plan will encourage the free flow between and use of the spaces; education will not be limited by walls or doors. It even continues outside to the playground and the terraces on the first floor.
The green and environmental aspect are also part of the school program. The building fits its surroundings like a pavilion in a green area. The school is located at the head of a green development area, which extends into the country.
The green gardens in the playground and the special green roof terrace have another quality than the ground floor. Green architecture is incorporated in the interior of the building through the sustainable use of materials, plants and vegetables. Here the children can have lessons in the open air when the weather allows it. Nature and (digital) education go hand in hand, supported by the latest digital learning program. The children and teachers who are part of this program and school are really lucky to be part of this beautifully bright green and healthy educational vision.