The local authority primary school in the Hoogstraat in Rumbeke consisted of several buildings that had been built, modified and expanded over the years. With some emergency interventions (including containers), up to now a temporary ‘solution’ has always been found for the ever-increasing lack of space. In the design, the various structural components are forged into a coherent whole.
The existing gymnastics hall was renovated by the creation of an additional mezzanine floor for the sports hall. On the ground floor, a new dining room will be fitted out which leaves enough room to equip a spacious open and covered playground. In a separate wing, there is room for an out-of-hours crèche with shared use of classrooms and playrooms.
Separate entrance areas for each section (nursery, primary and crèche) provide clear and safe access to the sections. The entrance areas are highlighted in the streetscape by an architectural accent that is given its own look for each section. By way of a square, the playground is given a spontaneous connection to the public space. The school thus becomes a common property and a meeting place in the community.
Nursery school children enter the school through a multi-purpose hall to the left of the new building in the Hoogstraat. The 9 classrooms for the nursery school children, which are all located on the ground floor, and the nursery school playground – which is separate from the one for the primary school – are accessed through this multi-purpose hall. The primary school has an entrance at the right side of the building in the Hoogstraat which opens onto the primary school playground. Around the passage on the right side is the bike shed and on the left side is the reception with the secretary’s office. In total 17 classrooms are being provided for the primary school. The primary school classrooms are located on the first floor and are accessed by a wide corridor. This corridor is accessible directly from the playground via a few strategically placed stairways.
The out-of-hours crèche has its own entrance in a small forecourt around the corner in the Louis Leynstraat. Here too, the nursery school children have their space on the ground floor and the rooms for the teenagers are situated on the first floor.
The rooms in shared use are nearly all above the underpass at the entrance to the primary school. This is symbolically and literally the bridging point between school and the crèche. After school hours, the sports hall is opened for public use. A sophisticated system of access control was devised for this purpose.
Apart from the rooms for teachers and managers, the second floor also accommodates the technical area. The structure of the building has been designed in such a way that the second floor can be expanded with additional classrooms depending on flexibility and potential future needs.
Due to the limited height and the use of traditional brick materials in the street façades, the impact of the school on the streetscape will remain limited. The entirety will be divided into several buildings and volumes which will make its integration into the area even better. The breaks in the façade rhythm are also used to mark the various entrance areas.
Heating costs are minimised through proper insulation and an airtight finish. Sophisticated ingress of daylight to the classrooms ensures maximum light penetration with good spread over the entire room and optimum utilisation of the heat gains. At the same time, overheating is avoided by the underlying array of windows. Along with the use of fully mechanical ventilation, these interventions provide for high comfort.
The interior takes the needs of the teachers and the world of children as its starting point. All classrooms are provided with large storage cupboards and plenty of space to exhibit or hang work. The nursery classrooms will each be given a separate storage room and one washroom for every two classrooms.
The wall between the classrooms and the corridor is conceived of as a piece of furniture: on the corridor side there are storage compartments for each child and on the classroom side, there are cupboards at half height. Above the cupboards, bulletin boards and arrays of windows feature, which makes for good light distribution on the side of the playground.
Completed in 2016
Classical architecture assignment
E59 – K30
Picture & photography