UArchitects: Winner of Architect of the Year Awards 2020. Two existing schools in two neighbouring locations in Maastricht are merging into a new school on a new location in that city. This particular location was chosen to strengthen the weak social structure of the two neighbourhoods and to introduce a new digital education system to learn also more about the environment, nature and sustainability. Even the playground outside has different zones to help children (re)discover nature and explore their world by means of experiments or to build and test objects.
The digital way of teaching is for the most part paperless (virtual), which is represented in the architecture of the building. It shows a brick element with random messages in binary code (1 and 0) on the façade, as a reflection of this digitalized education system and the virtual reality in which we live today. The façade acts as the messenger of our digital world. Some places on the facade, the pattern of bricks reveals a message by the use of binary code.
This is a school that holds a kindergarten, a primary school, a gym, out-of-school child care and a library. A school with five different types of users that work closely together to combine environmental and digital teaching to reach a new level of education. The concept of environmental teaching can be found on different levels, from virtual reality to the building itself, making it the green and modern digital school.
Both the school and the building are not designed around a classically organized educational system but around the concept of free movement and free use of spaces. We used the concept of a flock of birds to predict the movement of the users (children) through the building, which is how we designed the various spaces in the school. The educational space in the school is not limited to the classrooms but can continue in different open spaces with a different purpose. This open plan will encourage the free flow between and use of the spaces; education will not be limited by walls or doors. It even continues outside to the playground and the terraces on the first floor.
The green and environmental aspect are also part of the school program. The building fits its surroundings like a pavilion in a green area. The school is located at the head of a green development area, which extends into the country.
The green gardens in the playground and the special green roof terrace have another quality than the ground floor. Green architecture is incorporated in the interior of the building through the sustainable use of materials, plants and vegetables. Here the children can have lessons in the open air when the weather allows it. Nature and (digital) education go hand in hand, supported by the latest digital learning program.
The classrooms inside the building can be opened up fully and easily connected to the central corridor space, which is large and spacious. This corridor space can also be used by the school for other activities. This school takes a non-traditional approach to organising its classes, giving the users the possibility to connect their classes with one other, or alternatively close the classrooms off completely should the school’s learning programme require it. Environmental issues regarding nature and society are taught at this school, so that all children take on a future responsibility regarding the environment, and can in turn pass this knowledge on to their parents.
Firm || UArchitects
Project Name || IKC de Geluksvogel
Architect || Misak Terzibasiyan
Architect of the Year Award Category || Institutional Building Built
Project Location || Maastricht
Team || UArchitects / Misak Terzibasiyan
Country || The Netherlands
Photography ©Credit || ©Daan Dijkmeijer
UArchitects is an urban architecture studio, based in Eindhoven, founded by the owner Misak Terzibasiyan
Misak Terzibasiyan was born in Helsinki (Finland) and studied architecture, city planning, and building technology at the University of Technology in Eindhoven.