- Collaborator: Annegien van Dijk
- Architect In Charge: Gianni Cito
- City: Groningen
- Country: The Netherlands
Text description provided by the architects. On the periphery of a nondescript residential area in Groningen, Gianni Cito designed a large building for two schools, two childcare centres and a playground. From the outset, the end users played an important role in this project, engaging in regular dialogue with the architect during workshops. One of the significant outcomes was the proposal to share out-of-school care facilities, play rooms, gym, kitchen, staff room, science classroom and the playground.
This resulted in a large, linear building, built entirely from environmentally friendly sustainable wood, which folds itself around the playground like a paperclip. The new community school is one storey high and the entire building is slightly raised above the ground plane. A continuous, shallow flight of steps serves not only as the transition between building and playground, but also as an outdoor space for various classes. A deep canopy above the steps shelters the children from rain and sun.
On the outer side of the building is a long corridor which occasionally widens into meeting or play areas and which connects the otherwise introverted building with the surrounding landscape. Each school has its own entrance and all the classrooms can also be accessed from the playground. Simple measures, such as large sliding or revolving doors, allow classrooms to be connected to one another or to the wide corridor. This allows for a wide range of spatial configurations appropriate to the different forms of education, while also enabling the school, childcare centres and playgroup to establish new links with one another.