Amsterdam plans to build up to 30 modular schools from wood

Image courtesy of Studio A Kwadraat
The Circlewood consortium, a collective of architects, engineers, builders and researchers, has designed a modular building concept that will act as the basis for up to 30 schools in Amsterdam.

The three-storey plug-and play system, called the HoutKern Bouwmethode, consists of standardised wooden columns and cross-laminated floors connected by recycled steel joints.

Components are digitally controlled to decrease assembly times and are built on site with the help of an electric crane.

Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), which is acting as the collective’s creative director, says this method reduces nitrogen emissions by 80% compared with standard construction.

Image courtesy of Studio A Kwadraat

The base’s load-bearing walls enclose areas that can be used as classrooms, auditoriums and gardens. The walls themselves are made from carbon-absorbing materials and can be used to support indoor climbing and vertical farming.

The base is flexible and allows an architect to work with the schoolboard to determine the final plans.

A pilot school has been developed in collaboration with Studio A Kwadraat that contains bike storage and a spacious central hall.

Michael den Otter, OMA’s project architect, said: “The system components are durable, adaptable and easily assembled. This offers flexibility for the schools to shape learning environments that suit their identities.”

Image courtesy of Arthur Wong

Jimmy van der Aa, an architect with Studio A Kwadraat, added: “The method is a kind of construction kit, with many technical requirements resolved upfront. This allows us as an architect to quickly set up a clear structure of the building, and we can fully focus on the final user and the client.”

The project will contribute to Amsterdam’s plan to halve the use of primary raw materials by 2030 and become fully circular by 2050.

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