Text description provided by the architects. A large-scale urban renewal project is in progress in the Reimerswaalbuurt in Osdorp, a neighborhood situated at the periphery of Amsterdam. The ambitious plan was made under the supervision of the Architecten Cie. Nine building complexes will be realized with broad streets and auto-free squares. Mecanoo designed the first complex which includes a school, sports hall, pre-school playrooms, a children’s day-care center, a community center, 51 apartments and 21 single family homes. The neighborhood will be enriched with good social housing situated in a network of pleasant and safe streets, squares and public green space with gathering places to socialize in. The result of the fruitful cooperation between the developer Ymere, the school board, design studio Makkink & Bey and artist Elspeth Pikaar is a richly detailed social housing and multi-functional education complex. Mecanoo’s design example will set the stage for the other eight residential complexes.
Community and social functions are located on the ground level of the complex. The entrances to the school, pre-school playrooms, children’s day-care center and apartments are located at the highly accessible Osdorper Ban. The building slopes down from 6 levels to three on the north side and connects beautifully with the complex (to be built) on the northwest side. The northwest side of the complex opens up to the green courtyard, which is the domain of both residents and pupils of the school. Situated in the four levels above the school are 51 apartments, of which 16 are designated for people with mild physical handicaps. The quieter, north side of the complex houses 21 single family homes.
The main (glass) entrance of St. Lukas offers a transparent view to a large courtyard in the back. A second entrance is located on the courtyard’s raised square and is accessible via a whimsical design fence by Studio Makkink & Bey. An exceptional façade was created in cooperation with the artist, Elspeth Pikaar. She asked the pupils of St. Lukas to write texts and make drawings; these were then processed in large glass panels. The panels form a ribbon around the building and bring into picture the progression of study years at the school. The artwork shows the pupils’ sense of connection with their school and neighborhood. The interior of the school is meticulous in its child-friendly detailing, and a fresh colour green is deftly applied throughout the entire building and the classrooms.