Campus Zonnebos, ‘s Gravenwezel (BE): Unity in Diversity
The Zonnebos school campus for schools of special primary and secondary education is located in rural ‘s-Gravenwezel, near Antwerp. The campus is characterized by a system of pavilion-like buildings separated by a variety of in-between spaces. But this park-like layout has a problem: visibility on the campus is poor, so it is hard for visitors to find their way in the maze of paths.
Four new two-storey pavilion buildings are precisely positioned within the existing structure. While maintaining transparency the collective in-between spaces are redefined according to the principle of “unity in diversity”. In a clever way, three of the four buildings are connected by means of one elevator and boardwalk, which simultaneously acts as a covered playground. The elevator functions as a landmark with a large clock, a central spatial element with stairs playfully organized around it, that symbolises the collective image of the campus.
Durable qualities for the building: flexible framework that perfectly adjoins to the existing
Combined with the existing buildings, the new scheme provides the campus with a clear structure. The green outdoor space is now a patchwork of individual but continuous areas. These areas, which amongst others include gardens for horticultural training, provide for children of various age groups. The central, sheltered courtyard with the elevator tower and staircase forms the main entrance to the campus and provides a safe area for dropping off and picking up children.
The new buildings harmonize with the existing pavilions in colour and materialization. The facades (consisting of brickwork and displaying a block pattern by the simple means of using two types of jointing) match the modular design of the existing pavilions. The interiors are structured by a neutral, flexible system of columns and beams, facilitating all types of use.