Junior College

School building for secondary education

Junior College
Architect: SeARCH
Address: Julianadorp, Den Helder, Netherlands
Investor:Stichting Scholen aan Zee
Completion:07.2006 – 11.2007
Area:5600 m2
Price:5 440 000 Euro

How do you position a school building in a location without context (the plan for the surrounding neighbourhood is completely unknown) and how do you design a school building with a high amount of flexibility, with three separate education-blocks, each covering approximately one elevation and with the ability to expand or shrink if needed?
In our opinion the schools’ requested programme contained a gap with the absence of a fully fledged communal hall for the maximal 700 students. With this came the fact that the schoolyard for a greater part of the year will not be useable due to the extremely windy conditions on this location right behind the dunes of the North Sea coast.
By connecting all the required class rooms and support spaces on one side of a long rising spiral-shaped hallway, all shortages mentioned before were taken away. Due to the lack of a ‘traditional’ floor, an infinite flexibility appears, while the continuous neutral spiral shape encloses a big central square which is covered by a big balloon roof providing a comfortable climate throughout the whole year. Inside this atrium bamboo is planted.
The biggest compliment given while the school was taken into use was by the students who imagined themselves being in a jungle or forest. ‘The only ones missing are the monkeys’.
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