Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Noorderpoort college in Stadskanaal, Netherlands by Mecanoo architecten
July 29th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Mecanoo architecten
Noorderpoort college in Stadskanaal to be a villa on the water
Mecanoo architecten has won the architectural selection for the new Noorderpoort regional community college in Stadskanaal, the Netherlands. The 8,500 m² college is like a mansion with beautiful wetlands as a front lawn situated within the town’s green heart. The community college provides education to 1300 students in the Engineering, Health care and Services sectors. Construction is to begin in 2012 with doors opening in 2014.
The atrium is at the heart of the building and features a large grandstand. It is the most important meeting place and provides access to every floor. This is where the different departments present themselves with their showcase windows that provide a literal view of what the various disciplines have on offer. Noorderpoort is no traditional school but a modern educational environment where theory and practice are intertwined. The school is an exemplary model for the partnership between education and the business world. Several commercial businesses within the building contribute towards its multifunctionality.
Noorderpoort has an atmosphere that is both welcoming and striking. Striking is the interplay of the flowing forms of the wooden slats with a lot of glass above the open facade.The aim is for the building to achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating in sustainability. This rating is attained by application of underground thermal storage, sustainable materials, water treatment by means of a helophyte filter, a high degree of flexibility and healthy indoor ambient conditions.
Mecanoo architecten is a global practice and offers architecture, urban planning, landscape and interior design services. The practice is led by architect/creative director Francine Houben. Mecanoo has designed many schools, including the Sterren College in Haarlem (2011) and the Da Vinci College in Dordrecht (2007). At present, Mecanoo is working on various schools in the Netherlands, including Amsterdam University College, Calvijn Het Groene Hart in Barendrecht and Fontys Sports School in Eindhoven.
Challenging and inspirational
Mecanoo’s design for Noorderpoort in Stadskanaal has developed into an exceptional school. It is a building that inspires and challenges one to learn. A building that the users love, in which pupils and staff are happy to spend time and which has outstanding qualities of safety and sustainability. The original idea in the design sprung from the question: what sort of a building do teachers, other users and above all pupils require if they are to function with the maximum efficiency? Noorderpoort was therefore designed from the inside out with the atrium as its vibrant heart.
The atrium is the most important convergence point in the school and forms the main access facility for every floor. This is where the different departments present themselves with their showcase windows that provide a literal view of what the various disciplines have on offer. For instance, in the architecture department you see how a model home is developed every year while in the training kitchen a menu is prepared. Noorderpoort is no traditional school but a modern educational environment where theory and practice are intertwined. Thanks to transparency, openness and the surveyable character of the building, a student never gets ‘lost ’. Every department has its own identity and the student experiences it as a comfortable living room where he or she can meet one another.
Giving something back to the city
Noorderpoort has an atmosphere that is both welcoming and striking. The wide canopy of the fully designed building indicates the main entrance and the school playground. The transparent building with its front garden with generous stretches of water fits unobtrusively into its surroundings. During breaks, pupils can enjoy the sunshine on the steps leading to the water, the intensively cultivated flora and fauna or take a stroll around the school via the wooden path. On the Atlantislaan side, the Noorderpoort has a welcoming feel, on the entrance side it is easy to access, while on the side of the sports fields it is of small-scale in its play with staggered volumes, each with a different cladding – wooden panels, joined wooden elements and glass. Noorderpoort’s new building aims to give something back to the city.
Noorderpoort is an exemplary model for the partnership between education and the business world. Several commercial businesses within the building contribute towards its multifunctionality. Each company has its own site and entrance. The same goes for the playing fields which have direct access to the locker rooms, which avoids users having to go through the rest of the school. The spacious cafeteria roof terrace provides a view of the surrounding sports fields and the school playground. This contributes not only to a sense of safety in the sports park, but also encourages people to get involved in sports activities. The aim is for the school to achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating in sustainability. This rating is attained by application of underground thermal storage, sustainable materials, water treatment by means of a helophyte filter, a high degree of flexibility and healthy indoor ambient conditions.
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