School de Tweesprong
By Misak07-09-2015Popularity:17500 Comments


Transformation monument and expansion new building


Period from January 2014 until December 2014


Budschop Primary School (Nederweert)

De Tweesprong Primary School (Nederweert-Eind)


Historical background.

The former primary school Budschop is located in the heart of the Budschop hamlet in the municipality of Nederweert. The hamlet does have its own historical centre, which experienced strong growth during the twentieth century. The most profound expansion is that of 1956, when large numbers of residential buildings and a primary school were built. What we know of the primary school is that it was built in 1956 and was designed by architect Pierre Weegels. Characteristic of this former primary school is the corridor on one side of the building that gives access to the classrooms, as well as the religious motifs reflected in the interior, for example a figure of Christ on a pedestal and iconographic stained-glass (page 01)  from 1956 above the main entrance. The scenes originate from the life of Saint Antonius van Weert (approx. 1522-1572), who came from the small village of Kampershoek between Weert and Nederweert. He was ordained monk by the Franciscan monastery of Gorinchem. On 9 July, 1572, he and 17 other religious people were murdered by the Beggars. They were hanged in a barn near Brielle and since that day are remembered as “the martyrs of Gorinchem”.

Architect Pierre Weegels also designed the school De Tweesprong (1960), situated in Nederweert-Eind. Both schools are listed as monumental buildings by the municipality, notably the original state and not the subsequent expansions and additions to the original schools. The later additions to the schools actually caused serious damage to the monuments in both situations. We have made it our priority for both projects to have the original characteristics of the monuments restored and to adjoin the new construction with care and consideration. The existing architecture is characterised by its religious motifs (Catholic themes), which are depicted both on the inside and outside of the building, as well as the facade paintings of De Tweesprong whereby the colours red, black, light blue and yellow feature against a light-grey background (page02). This light-grey background is to be the architectural bearer of the new construction projects. Pierre Weegels was also the architect behind the St. Gerardus Majella church (1954), also a municipal monument, located diagonally across the street. The community in both villages appeared to have held religion in high regard during the 50s, and this was a major influence in the realisation of the projects. This influence has been incorporated in both new construction projects.


Design explanation of the Budschop and De Tweesprong schools

The added value of the new broad-based schools is that the current fragmentation between education, childcare and playgroup work is reduced and is eventually eliminated. This, in contrast to the many small schools being closed down in small communities, can actually give the schools at these locations a new start and an upgrade.

Through its integral, holistic approach, there will be one development environment for all children. The added value for parents is also evident: a commonly shared educational vision and daily arrangements that offer the child an educational and enjoyable time. At Budschop Primary School and De Tweesprong, the upcoming renovation creates an excellent opportunity to integrate education and childcare facilities in the small communities. Education and childcare, including playgroup work, can together provide shape and substance to a continuous development line for children from zero to thirteen years old. This allows for a seamless transition between education, childcare and free time at both schools.

With the help of the project Art Of Reading (Kunst Van Lezen), an internal school library has been set up for this project. Here, students can read books both for school studies and at home. With the renovation, an ideal opportunity arises for all children attending Budschop and De Tweesprong schools to use this library.

The routing within the new construction sites is clear and spatial. There is sufficient space to set up learning stations in the corridor. The classrooms can be opened up completely, both to each other and to the corridor side, providing an open set-up for learning and enabling better knowledge exchange. This as opposed to the traditional classroom-style education. We have sought ways to allow more natural light to penetrate deeper into the schools. Not only from a cost-efficiency perspective, but also for maximum appreciation of the rooms and to highlight and dramatise the monuments.

The principle of natural daylight is also amplified in both projects by having the ceilings of the rooms slope upwards due to an oblique roof that sticks out in a northerly direction. Using this particular design gives us the ability to continue to provide rooms deep inside the building with indirect daylight by means of the created openings. We will respectfully place the connections between the monument and new construction and in doing so emphasise the significance of the monuments.

Monument and new construction are also joined in the interior by transparent skylights where the two architectural structures meet one another at the heart / reception area of both projects; a subtle reference towards the heavenly daylight. In the separation and convergence of past and present, the skylights are a means of consciously connecting the old space with the new.

When working out and developing the designs further, we were inspired by the context of the projects.

The agricultural community and the religious themes motivated us in our approach of both projects to represent the past in an unobtrusive manner by using tranquil colour tones, from white to different shades of grey. We deliberately avoided the use of outspoken, expressive colours and materials. The wooden sections on the exterior of the projects are a reference to the barns that can be found  throughout the rural area. With brick walls that have visibly deep recessed mortar joints in the masonry, a link is made to the farmland that is so characteristic of the agricultural countryside.

Locations such as Nederweert and Nederweert-Eind emerged from an agriculturally oriented community where creed was, and still is, one of the unifying factors in the villages. The vertical wooden facades (reference to the timber barns) on the facades have been treated with a light transparent coating to initiate natural ageing, and the clearly recessed masonry facades (reference to the farming landscape) connect the vertical and horizontal movements of both projects with the context. (page 03). Texture and direction of the facades are used horizontally and vertically. We have consciously made the choice for the facades not to be a clearly readable decoration, but rather a facade structure that allows itself to be consciously (and unconsciously) read in terms of the intrinsic underlying influences of the surrounding areas on both projects.

east facade after the transformation and combination with monument.

north facade after the transformation and combination with existing monument.

ground plan before transformation in combination with existing monument.

isometric view before transformation of old buildings and existing monument.

transformation process of existing to new in combination with monument

transformation inside new and old: open the spaces inside the new school

flow and connection of the spaces

site plan and context

key: renovation monument and extension new school
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