Erpe is a charming town with a tangle of streets and sober brick buildings. De Brug primary school is located in the heart of this rural residential area. Yet its presence is hardly noticeable. In the Dorpsstraat, the school manifests itself as an elongated blind spot. The school consists of small pavilions and a number of richly diversified squares and alleys. They radiate a very homely atmosphere and the many 'in-between spaces' allow for numerous activities. However, this small grain of buildings results in a large fragmentation of the landscape.
Because of this problem, the choice was made to house the programme in three simple two-storey volumes. They keep the spirit of the former pavilion fleet alive and structure the site in a simple manner. Placing the two main volumes quasi-centrally on the site and allowing them to shift in relation to each other creates an intense and vibrant field of tension that defines a new centre. In addition, it creates an articulated place of its own that hovers not only between village and landscape, but also between the various users of the school. The canopies positioned on the middle strip, just out of reach of the building, again generate their own meaning and character. The rough interior and exterior finish refers to the adage from the 1970s "rough building is finishing", as Erik Wieërs, currently Flemish Government Architect, put it so beautifully during the festive opening. "Under pressure from the scarcity of resources, this crisis phenomenon has become topical again. A wall does not have to be occupied to be a wall, on the contrary the masonry of concrete blocks evokes the children's drawing of the wall."
Finally, the integration of the work of art was included in the design process from the very beginning and was made possible by clever use of the available budget for the building project. Ante Timmermans intervened by not having one of the old pavilions demolished, but simply retained it on the site. Empty and seemingly featureless, without an idea - or just full of possibilities. Because one pavilion less needs to be demolished, this artistic intervention even has a slight cost-saving effect. And yet, because of the surplus or even waste of space, the empty pavilion can also be seen as excess.