Like any training centre, this one provides two different types of teaching: vocational training based on woodwork, carpentry and elevator maintenance, and more general education. Vocational training takes place at the bottom of the building because this is also the symbolic basis of the institution. We have tried to provide pleasant, well-lit, practical and welcoming working spaces and have designed them with the wellbeing of their users, i.e. administrative staff, teachers and students, in mind. Using the large foyer as an official reception and exhibition area enables us to present a good image of the institution and of vocational training as a whole.
This foyer is visible from the outside concourse through a large pane-glass window that provides a glimpse of its colourful double-height interior. The corner of the “eastern block” has been scooped out to form a porch and guide visitors towards the entrance and the caretaker’s office. The monumental scale of the foyer and the grand central staircase orchestrate the movements of students going up or coming down from the cloakrooms, classrooms and workshops.
A first flight of stairs serves an intermediate level housing the cloakrooms, which open out onto a mezzanine overlooking the double-height workshops. This landing also gives access to the resource centre and the library, which are located at a strategic crossroads. The second landing leads to the administrative offices, the recreation area, the sports hall and some normal rooms. The workshop where elevator maintenance is taught is the institutional figurehead and is located at the northern tip of the “western block”.
One approaches this northern end from front on and it is built entirely of glass so that visitors can see the students at work as well as moving elevator cabs. This practical architectural design ensures that this part of the building showcases the centre’s professionalism. The recreation area can be accessed via the entrance to the first floor and also from the central gangway leading to the classrooms. There is a soundproof wall running along the railway tracks to protect the centre from noise. This empty space could also be used for a future extension to the centre.