Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

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Facility of the week

Het 4e Gymnasium, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Although the school looks and feels like a traditional building, it is a modular structure. This is not visible, however, given the innovative design of the façade. Rather than offering a drab uniform exterior, the building displays the technical and aesthetic qualities and level of finishing of a permanent structure. Several design features make this possible. The joints between the modular units are hidden or disguised. On the external walls, the timber sections, built from narrow horizontal planks, hide the real joints. On the ground floor and in the courtyard, the joints are hidden behind coloured aluminium boards of different widths. The external façade is relatively deep, which allows various elements to be incorporated to give visual interest. For example, the windows are set back 20cm from the façade. The modular construction provides flexibility and makes the entire school recyclable. It would be relatively easy to reconfigure the structure and rebuild it in a different form. More significantly, it is fully transportable. Each module is designed to fit on a standard flatbed truck and can be transported by road. This means that in the future this structure could easily be moved to another location in the city and reassembled as a school or office accommodation. Built close to the waterfront, the school is often exposed to a strong wind. It has therefore been built around an open central courtyard. This provides a perfect and comforting shelter against the wind and a place for students to gather outside. Benches placed in a wide circle invite students to meet. A light and transparent interior circulation space surrounds this courtyard. On the first and second floors several bay windows jut out from the corridors. These provide study spots and sitting areas where students and teachers can work quietly outside of the classrooms
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About this database

The OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) launched the “Database of Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investment” on 29 September 2011. It seeks to inform the planning, design, construction, management and evaluation of educational spaces, combining resources for strategic investment in educational infrastructure, with exemplary school and university facilities from all over the world.

Drawing on the output of a joint CELE/European Investment Bank project on “Strategic Investment Planning for Educational Infrastructure” and more than 60 exemplary schools and universities featured in CELE’s flagship publication, “Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011”, this database is a unique international resource for educators, designers, policymakers and researchers alike.

Users of the database are encouraged to add their own resource material, or submit new completed university or school projects for publication on the database. OECD and EIB welcome your input to our project!

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The OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) presents the top 6 school and university buildings in ”Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011”.

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