LocationAmsterdam, The Netherlands
PhotographsCourtesy of Burton Hamfelt Architectuur
From the architect. The youth of Amsterdam are getting smarter and the growing waiting list for highly gifted students has generated the immediate need for a new temporary high school. The commission was to provide an architectural modular design and building system strategy for a temporary school building in the prominent location in the Overhoeks area in Amsterdam North.
The temporary building was part of the school’s first step towards an expansion plan from 75 students to approximately 650 over a 5-year time span. The building design system was chosen to allow for flexibility and speed in yearly growth in phases. After 5 years the school will be dismantled and re-used for other buildings and relocated to a permanent building.
Due to the extraordinary cost and time restrictions a modular building system of 3m. x 3m. x 6m. (w, h, l) was incorporated from the very beginning so that 95 % of the building production could be manufactured in the factory. Only six months was available from the first sketch and the opening day.
The design of the building was inspired by the reference to Hyperion, the Titan god of light and the observation, as a playful way of bringing in natural daylight not common to the traditional school building. Throughout the building square windows of different sizes were systematically arranged designed on the facade, roof and interior walls to create an ever-changing expression of natural daylight and diagonal view lines.
Another feature is the striking main entrance that functions as a covered outside play area, also housing the school logo to emphasize the entrance. From this entrance one is lead into the double height auditorium, the schools central meeting place. A wide lazy solid wood staircase leads one from the hall to the first floor. This staircase also serves as a traffic route, lounge area and stage during performances.