Amstelveen College in the suburbs of Amsterdam in the Netherlands moved into an innovative and practical new building in September 2013. The design is by DMV Architects, who also designed the interior, the fixtures and fittings, the grounds and, importantly for a Dutch college, bicycle parking. In addition, DMV architects supported the Amstelveen municipality in managing the project throughout construction.
The college is a secondary school and is divided into seven small departments. To show that every student has the education they deserve, the Amstelveen College uses the motto ‘a school with possibilities for the great and the involvement of the small’. A motto that is translated in the design of the building.
One building; seven identities
The building of four floors is designed as a ‘gallery’ school. Translated into a house it means that if you enter through the front door you first find the wardrobe to hang your jacket. Through the hallway, where the toilet is, you walk into the living room. This idea is reflected in the Amstelveen College. Each of the seven education departments, with about two hundred pupils, has its own entrance and a matching outdoor space in the form of south-facing terrace. To emphasize the individuality of the departments, they each have their own color. Common areas have a natural green color.
Animation outside, rest inside
The choice for a gallery school means that the crowd animation of moving students is concentrated in the outside shell of building. There are the entrances that lead to the central areas of the seven departments, as well as the corresponding outer staircases. This creates peace and quiet in the education fields. Space to learn together or alone. However, also a space to meet or relax for teachers as well as students.
The seven central areas of the departments open to the main staircase. This staircase as well as the auditorium is also the meeting place for the various departments. As the staircase is equipped with theater seating it is usable as a multifunctional space for various purposes.
In sight inside and a view from the park
Around this main central space there are training rooms, computer rooms, tutor rooms, a teachers room and an office for the head of departments. On the ground floor there are laboratories for science practicals—biology, chemistry and physics—and rooms for art and music. These spaces are clearly within sight. Out of sight, but also on the ground floor, is an indoor bicycle parking area; unobtrusive but central.
The exterior of the building is characterized by black, glossy masonry with randomly placed openings and entrances clearly recognizable as large openings in the black casing. As a sculptural building it fulfills its own role, yet it also flows seamlessly into its environment.
Accessible, safe and sustainable
The solitary location of the building is emphasized by a canal that surrounds it. Excavating this not only brought an aesthetic value, it also ensures that school grounds can be closed. Through a single gate, across a bridge over the canal, you arrive at the sports facilities. This autonomous building is recognizably part of the school building through the signature black, glossy masonry. The sports hall, which can be divided into three gymnasiums, is also used by the local community after school and therefore is also accessible via a separate entrance. Besides its easily accessible location, this compact building is extremely sustainable. It is energy efficient with a balanced ventilation system, the use of a heat pump with warm and cold storage in the earth and through solar collectors on the roof.
Education, Vision and Design are seamless
The principles of Amstelveen College are the following:
• Differences enrich
• Building together
• Small scale
• Motivation = use x fun
Now that the building has been in use for many months, it can be concluded that these principles are not only applicable to education, but equally they can apply to the building in which the education takes place.
New GFA: 13,200 m2
Start design: Feb. 2008
Start implementation: June 2010
Completion: Dec. 2012