Robust and clean: Children’s Campus Zuidas Amsterdam
Children’s Campus Zuidas accommodates a primary school, day-care centre, after-school care facilities and sports hall. Fact Architects and Hund Falk Architecten jointly designed this light and airy, spacious school with a vibrant heart. An open structure of raw wood components in steel frames has been placed in front of robust external walls with large aluminium windows and sheet material.
The building was constructed in phases, with a section of it being moved on the site. Architect Floris Hund explains why: ‘In 2014, there was an urgent need for a new school in the Zuidas. The only suitable location, between De Boelelaan and Antonio Vivaldistraat, wouldn’t be available until 2015. A phased build and the subsequent move of a section of the building was cheaper than temporary accommodation. But the main reason for a phased build was that this way, the children immediately got a really good building.’
The first phase was built behind an existing sports hall. After the existing structures, including the sports hall, were demolished, the second phase was completed. The first section of the building was then moved 30 metres and almost seamlessly linked to the second. Both sections of the building consist largely of prefab components and were constructed within a very short time on site. ‘If the number of children continues to grow as expected, an extra level will be added to the lower section of the building mid-2017,’ hopes Peer Glandorff, who co-designed the school with Hund.
Wide bleacher stairs connect the ground floor with the library above.
At Children’s Campus Zuidas, children aged 0 to 12 can learn and play from 7:30 to 18:30. The education offered is based on continuous learning. Hund explains how the architects translated this into their design: ‘We designed the building such that children of consecutive ages can come in contact with each other in a natural way. For example, in the large central area, which serves as an assembly hall and play room. This is a space for all ages.’ Wide bleacher stairs connect the ground floor with the library above. Glass walls and a big vide (open space) with glass roof allow lots of natural light to enter the central space.
In addition, the school has a clear spatial layout. There are four clusters of four classrooms, grouped according to age ranges. After-school care is provided in the large areas between these rooms. ‘The school layout and connection with surrounding outdoor areas ensure that this is a special, pleasant space for the children and teachers to work, learn and play in,’ Hund assures.
The gym on the top level of the school is also used by other schools and sports clubs. The gym can be accessed via a stairwell with lift, which can be closed off from the school.
The whole of the ground-floor wall consists of glass panels. The group areas and gym on the other floors have extra-large windows; the gym even has a window of 3.6 by 5 m.
Peer Glandorff (Facts Architects )
Raw wood, shiny aluminium and large windows characterise the external walls. They are made of standard components, both in terms of composition and dimensions. Depending on the rooms behind them and the orientation of the sun, the wall components have been fitted with glass or aluminium sheet material.
Glandorff: ‘The whole of the ground-floor wall consists of glass panels. The group areas and gym on the other floors have extra-large windows; the gym even has a window of 3.6 by 5 m.’ One type of slimline aluminium window profile by Reynaers was chosen. The anodised aluminium goes well with the wood and steel. Soundproofing was also important in the choice of windows because of the busy location. Finally, price was also a consideration, as the building had to be completed within a tight budget. D’n Boeij Aluminiumbouw was responsible for all the windows.
In the short video below, the architects of Fact Architects and Hund Falk Architecten talk about their design for Children’s Campus Zuidas.
Adventure outdoor areas
All sides of the building overlook a variety of outdoor areas. Surrounding the building are several natural and paved outdoor areas with play areas. Glandorff: ‘Natural play areas border directly on classrooms and group areas. On the side of the future Boelegracht, we designed steps with integrated containers for school gardens.’
The other outdoor areas, including nature gardens with climbing trees, waterfall and small beach, a sports fields and kiss & ride zone were designed by the Department of Planning and Sustainability of the municipality of Amsterdam, Het Wilde Land and Zandraket.
The finish of the interior is uniform, with identical acoustic screed floors in a light grey hue throughout the school.
Good indoor climate
The finish of the interior is uniform, with identical acoustic screed floors in a light grey hue throughout the school. The walls are clad in a patchwork of wood plate materials of different types of hardwood.
The ground floor has floor-to-ceiling windows all around for maximum contact between indoor and outdoor areas. Every group has a door here that leads to its own outdoor area. Hund: ‘Between the pillars directly behind the glass, we created work tables and seats. This way, the children have a direct view of the outdoor areas.’
The rooms and gym have been created with as much ceiling height as possible. Wires have been concealed in the openings behind the lower ceilings.
The windows behind the wood façade grids can be opened. Children’s Campus Zuidas has a good indoor climate. Overall, the school meets the Clean Schools category B standard and even the highest possible category A standard for air quality.