Sint-Gerardusscholen and Dienstencentrum Sint-Gerardus, Diepenbeek, Belgium
Exemplary design categories: energy efficiency, green school, outdoor spaces, special needs provisionHow the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The school caters for children and young people with a motor, neuromotor or multiple handicap. Housed in a single low-rise structure 162 metres long, the new facility is organised on a clear and simple basis. The elementary school and the secondary school each occupy one end of the building, and the central section houses various shared functions and facilities. These entities are separated from one another by “notches” in the building volume that also serve as individual outdoor playgrounds. These spacious courtyards are carved out of the large roof volume. Wide corridors cross the large indoor play areas. There are large shared living spaces, spacious classrooms and few doors. Large dormer windows in the roof allow ample daylight into the central space. The arched roof evokes a feeling of protection and affords spaciousness inside and openness to the surrounding area. The industrially manufactured structures helped make it possible to stay within the budget, and the compact shape produces energy savings. The building has a compact volume, well thought-out orientation and substantial roof overhangs to prevent overheating in summer. It uses classic climate-control technologies to improve air tightness, and has thermal insulation, heat recovery from ventilation and under floor heating. Rainwater drains automatically from the wide roof overhangs to the subsoil.
Activity Areas: 24 classrooms, indoor play spaces, therapy rooms (Occupational therapy, speech therapy and physiotherapy) , communal dining area, a gymnasium, therapy bath
Project costs: EUR 7,000,000.00
Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"