- Dirk Vandekerkhove Landschapsarchitecten
We apply a fairly homogeneous design language and detailing for the interiors across the whole campus in order to create a consistent look and feel that ties the different components together. The aim is to really let the spatial diversity of the architectural casbah concept shine and introduce a calming atmosphere to the learning environment. Yet within this blanket treatment we differentiate between the different schools and facilities by introducing colour.
Colours appear under different forms throughout the scheme. They materialise as solid panels in window partitions, signalling the building’s programme to the exterior. Throughout the interiors colours manifest themselves in the tiled floors and the dropped ceiling panels. In classrooms and circulation spaces the bottom one metre of the walls is covered in a coloured “wainscot”-type panelling. Not only does this increase the visibility of the colour-themed identity, it also serves as a wall-protection for the most exposed and vulnerable portions of the wall. Together with the identically coloured floors this creates a kind of continuous bowl, a protective, enveloping shell within the spaces.
Where walls and ceilings are not “dressed up” with these coloured applications, they appear raw and unfinished, revealing the concrete structure. The carefully detailed and finished concrete block walls are left bare and unplastered. For secondary structures such as dividing walls and fixed furniture we make plentiful use of wood, adding texture and natural warmth to the indoor environment.
In our design concept we combine the robustness of raw construction materials — befitting the students’ youthful exuberance — with vibrant and warm colours that create a calming and comfortable environment conducive to learning.
Within the village-like campus we maximise spatial continuities between interior and exterior, not only through the architectural layout but also through the continuation of interior finishes into outdoor spaces. We see this in the glazed tribune under the teenage building, which extends into an outdoor staircase bridging the level difference between the two streets delineating cluster 1. The glazed envelope can be opened up so this tribune becomes part of the playground spaces or acts as an indoor playground during inclement weather. The canteen on the ground floor of the former heritage depot in cluster 2 can similarly open up and expand into the surrounding outdoor space.
These continuities and transparencies create surprising vistas and perspectives throughout the site, encouraging spatial exploration in the young minds, improving security and facilitating communication and interaction.