Primary school ‘de Zandloper’ in Zomergem: school with exterior theater
Primary school ‘de Zandloper’ is situated in the rural surroundings of Zomergem, close to Gent, Belgium. The threefold arched volume joins the village street by respecting the small scale of the surrounding fabric. At the same time, the building leaves the view towards the stunning green domain behind it intact. The new building is carefully positioned between the magnificent existing trees and a small pathway that logically provides the school with a good accessibility for cars. School busses park in the street.
By means of a large veranda with benches on which the main entrances of the school are situated, the building is explicitly oriented towards the sun. The kindergarten classrooms on the ground floor are centered around a playing hall and close to the canteen and gymnasium. These can also be used separately by the neighborhood and provide exposure towards the street with their sizable windows. A large grandstand, which simultaneously functions as a covered playground, connects the first floor classrooms of the primary school to the ground level and forms an open-air theater on the beautifully green playgrounds. It is this form of double use that characterises the building.
Durable qualities of the building: flexible, spacious, with beautifully aging materials
The compact school with clear logistics and a flexible column structure in concrete and wood provides flexibility in layout. The high, arched roofs with skylights generate light and a spatiality that is amplified by the mezzanine floors. The arches are made up of light masonry and aluminum window frames. The deep nags and clever sun shading system that is connected at a lower point on the window frames, provide simultaneously for light admittance, sun protection and ventilation. The grandstand stairway serves as a unique exterior theatre, where classes can be held in summertime. The interior, with its wooden wall paneling and colored surfaces can easily compete with aesthetics of the exterior.