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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
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.

Montessori School Waalsdorp in Den Haag, The Netherlands by De Zwarte Hond

 
November 11th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: De Zwarte Hond

The new building for the Montessori School Waalsdorp makes up part of the “school triangle” in the city’s Benoordenhout district. Designed by De ZwarteHond, the school blends in well with the neighbourhood, while maintaining a unique presence. Its spacious and flexible interior forms a dynamic accommodation perfectly suited to the Montessori education system.

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

  • Architects: De Zwarte Hond
  • Project: Montessori School Waalsdorp
  • Location: Utenbroekestraat 6, Den Haag
  • Photography: DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee
  • Surface area: 2.480 m2 BVO
  • Setting: Off-center urban
  • Type of education: Montessorischool
  • Year: 2009–2014
  • Client: Bestuur van de Montessorischool Waalsdorp
  • Developer: Bouwonderneming Stout B.V.

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Characterised by the surrounding narrow streets and 1930’s brick housing, this broad, triangular block hosts the Montessori School Waalsdorp along with two other schools. The school’s position on the plot is defined by two historic Linden trees and the corner entrance, an orientation that provides the school with two playgrounds: a welcoming front space, and a generous area behind.

The strongly-profiled facade is constructed of exceptionally large, unusually proportioned bricks. Striking vertical ribs define the front entrance. The window frames are of anodized bronze aluminum with a distinctively deep profile, and the sun-shading is housed invisibly behind the brickwork.

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

The Montessori education system requires a unique, non-traditional architectural layout. The main structure consists of three organisational units, each housing a specific age-group. Each unit has its own classrooms, multifunctional corridor and entrance: the older and middle age-group areas are located on opposite sides of the sports hall on the first floor, while the younger children are accommodated on the ground floor. Here, next to the main entrance, the after-school care area, playroom, technical-studies room and kitchen are also located. The auditorium forms the heart of the building.

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Responding directly to the Montessori system’s pedagogic goals, all these features are connected by a wide multifunctional “street” that acts as a meeting place where children can work and play together. The two floors are connected by three voids allowing daylight to penetrate deep into the building. Due to the extensive use of internal glass– and despite its division into three units – the school has an open and transparent character. The specific design of both the after-school area and the sports hall enhances their relationships with the other areas, and intensifies both the spaciousness and flexibility of the building.

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

The services have been thoroughly integrated into the spatial design. Large-scale air-ducts, housed in the recesses between the classrooms and corridors, provide the building with Class B-quality fresh air. The ceiling height in the multifunctional “street”, the auditorium, and all the classrooms is 3.40m, comparable to Class A Schools. Great attention has been paid to the detailing of both the exterior and interior materials, all of which have been selected to age gracefully. Special care has also been taken with the interior layout, ensuring incorporation of the Montessori teaching method into the design.The wooden paneling has been worked to incorporate bookcases, coat-racks, permanent work-stations and cabinets.

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © DariaScagliola & Stijn Brakkee

Image Courtesy © De Zwarte Hond

Image Courtesy © De Zwarte Hond

Image Courtesy © De Zwarte Hond

Image Courtesy © De Zwarte Hond

Image Courtesy © De Zwarte Hond

Image Courtesy © De Zwarte Hond

Image Courtesy © De Zwarte Hond

Image Courtesy © De Zwarte Hond

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