Design revealed for Amsterdam’s first modular wooden school

Images courtesy of Studio A Kwadraat
A Dutch consortium has won a design competition for the Wisperweide school in Weesp, a city southwest of Amsterdam. This will be the first in a series of up to 30 modular schools that will be built in the area.

The design of the building system was carried out by Circlewood, a group that includes David Gianotten and Michael den Otter from the Office for Metropolitan Architecture and Jimmy van der Aa from fellow Dutch architect Studio A Kwadraat.

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

The design for Wisperweide uses the system, with modular partitions allowing for classrooms and corridors to be configured according to need, and for extra classrooms to be added to the northern side by removing the façade and expanding the structural framework.

The school will contain a central atrium, around which will be learning spaces for toddlers and older children, each of which will have their own entrance, outdoor playground and classrooms with largely transparent façades.

Corridors will be over 3m wide with ample natural light, which means that they can also function as learning and working spaces.

The building façade is defined by horizontal bands, with canopies marking entrances and with french window to allow children to go outside easity.

David Gianotten said: “The design of Wisperweide demonstrates the potential of the wooden modular system in creating highly adaptable buildings.

“As all the structural and technical challenges have been resolved when we developed the system, we can focus on working closely with the school to define the different spatial scenarios that suit its vision, and to offer a roadmap to improve the education environment over time."

Karin Kuipers, from Schools by Circlewood, said: “Our modular system was initially developed for The Natural Pavilion at the Floriade World Expo 2022. With the system, it is easy to transform a structure for new functions, or to disassemble it at the end of its lifecycle.”

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