Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Gemeentelijke basisschool Sint-Joost-ann-Zee, Sint Joost ten Node, Belgium

Exemplary design categories: cultural and historical value, flexible learning settings

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The school is housed in 19th century buildings on a small site that has been extended without encroaching on the existing playgrounds by building a roof extension on the main school building. This building had a typical school structure from that period: the classrooms were arranged on two floors around a central covered space and covered with parallel gable roof trusses. These were removed and replaced with a concrete slab that serves as an artificial floor for the new extension. This has enabled the school to accommodate six new classrooms, a multimedia centre and a library. The new classrooms on the second floor have glass panelling, bathing the rooms in natural light and providing extensive views of the surrounding area. They are linked by a wide internal corridor, allowing space for activities outside the classroom and for interaction between classrooms. There are also four patios outside the classrooms on the roof. These spaces, which have a similar surface area to the classrooms, can be used for teaching outdoors. The classrooms have been grouped in pairs around a small passage, allowing for easier interaction between each pair of classrooms and providing additional space for teaching small groups. Mezzanines have been added to the ground floor classrooms used by the pre-primary children. These have created additional space and, by linking the classrooms, make it easier to run large group activities. The infrastructure has also been improved by the installation of new bathrooms, better circulation thanks to new staircases, and large windows that bring natural light into the covered play area. As well as increasing the school’s capacity, the renovation has helped to realise the school’s vision of an “open school”, to build relationships with parents and the community by allowing the school to be used by the local community.

Involvement of users and the local community in the planning and design process:
During the extensive preliminary study, staff members, direction, parents, and neighbourhood organisations were questioned and consulted. This preliminary study resulted in a research report with the first programmatic outline for the project. This was then used as a basis for discussion and negotiation with the school.

Activity Areas: 8 classrooms, garden, staircase/lift to extension, covered play area; playground, gymnasium, refectory, staff room

Project costs: EUR 1,200,000.00

Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"

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User perspectives (1)

“Many children who come to the school grow up in underprivileged families and live in an environment where space is fairly limited. Thanks to the space, the light and the quiet, we can now offer our children a structure within which they feel safe. We can use the various spaces in a multifunctional way. Children work at different levels, and our teachers can work very flexibly with groups of children in different areas of the school.”
School principal, Gemeentelijke basisschool Sint-Joost-ann-Zee

Images (5)

Drawings (2)

ground floor plan (Registration required)
application/pdf
Credit:
site plan (Registration required)
application/pdf
Credit: