LocationThe Hague, The Netherlands
Project TeamGerrit van Es, Suzan Reerink
ClientStichting Christelijk Onderwijs Haaglanden (SCOH) + City of The Hague
PhotographsCourtesy of HVE architecten, Peter de Ruig
From the architect. We feel that a school should be like a small town, with streets, squares and houses. A town where one meets, learns, plays and discovers. A school as a town where children learn to peacefully coexist and grow.
The assignment for Tesselseveld was to create a community school that unites two elementary schools with playgroups and an enlarged gym in a single building.
From the start we set out to design a building in which all the different organisations would be able to function independently and separately while maintaining a physical, spatial and tangible connection. In order to accomplish this all the different programs were given a separate entrance and several common areas were created. In this way the building can also be used for community use and after-school care activities.
The common areas are a playroom and the enlarged gym hall, both located in the centre of the building. These areas, the squares of this miniature town, are connected to the classrooms, the houses, through a wide, central corridor. Because of its width and the many skylights and voids daylight penetrates the space and the corridor becomes a pleasant space of encounter between young and old, children, parents and teachers.
In the community school concept a large number of community-based activities and services are integrated. It is a practical implementation of the integrated youth policy in which the school has a central role. The community school links education to various important children and parents’ services like parenting support, child day care, health centres, etc. By combining services in a network or in a shared building, they become more accessible. Also, the various services can join forces and adjust their services to match and complement each other as well as meet the needs of the children and parents.
The community schools concept is mostly based on participation, of children and parents. Parents are stimulated to be actively involved and pupil input is encouraged. The activities at the community school are aimed at enabling children and the people around them to enhance their social skills as well as to learn interactively through participation. The community school promotes active participation in society through education, recreation and work. It is open to children of all ages: from pre-school through primary school and secondary education.