Basisschool Het Epos, The Netherlands
Copyright: Ossip Architectuurfotografie
Basisschool Het Epos, The Netherlands
Copyright: Ossip Architectuurfotografie
Basisschool Het Epos, The Netherlands
Copyright: Ossip Architectuurfotografie
Basisschool Het Epos, The Netherlands
Copyright: Ossip Architectuurfotografie
Basisschool Het Epos, The Netherlands
Copyright: Ossip Architectuurfotografie
Basisschool Het Epos, The Netherlands
Copyright: Ossip Architectuurfotografie
Basisschool Het Epos, The Netherlands
Copyright: Ossip Architectuurfotografie
Basisschool Het Epos, The Netherlands
Copyright: Ossip Architectuurfotografie

Basisschool Het Epos, The Netherlands

10 december 2021
Project: Basisschool Het Epos, Rotterdam | The Netherlands
Architect: SeArch Architecten, Amsterdam | The Netherlands
Fabricator: B.V. Metaalbouw TSV, Nieuw-Buinen | The Netherlands
Installer: De Groot Vroomshoop Groep B.V., Vroomshoop | The Netherlands
Façade System: Glued
Year of Construction: 2020
Product: ALUCOBOND® PLUS naturAL Reflect
Photos: Ossip Architectuurfotografie

FULLY ADAPTED

Ingenious solutions are required if teaching is to continue while a school building is being renovated. These interim measures must not only be budget-friendly, but also provide a good, learning environment for a period of many months. SeARCH, the Dutch design bureau, joined forces with De Groot Vroomshoop, the manufacturer of prefabricated building elements, to design a modular system for temporary educational spaces which is so beautiful and intelligent that it could well be left in situ permanently. The temporary building for the Het Epos primary school in Rotterdam was constructed using this modular system. At first glance, the building’s appearance is neither modular nor temporary. But let’s start at the very beginning: the architects developed 75 box-shaped timber framed modules which were prefabricated in the factory. The manufacturing process took several months, but it was not impacted by weather conditions and the dimensions of the finished product were very precise. This meant setting up the modules on the building site was all the faster, and it was possible to stack them to form a two-storey structure around an inner courtyard in just a few days. The architects covered this central courtyard with a structure comprising timber trusses and skylights to create two areas: a sports hall and a bright atrium. The circular layout meant the school community acquired, in addition to the limited space in the modular buildings, a sizable event and meeting venue. The modules on the upper floor protrude more or less over the outer edge of the lower modules, resulting in a covered outdoor area on ground level. In the atrium, on the other hand, this shift has formed a gallery to enable access to the upper floor. Once again it is the staggered arrangement of the modules, supplemented by an individually designed façade, which disguises the modular nature of the building. The timber frame construction is clad in reflective panels made of ALUCOBOND® naturAL Reflect. The architects had thermally treated pinewood battens, spaced a few centimetres apart, screwed on top of this to create an amazing layering effect and a kind of semi-transparent curtain. It is, of course, not made of transparent material, but it seems to blend in with its surroundings. Any changes in the environment which are mirrored in the façade change its appearance uniquely and fleetingly. The transitions between the storeys, which appear to be clearly delineated as though pencilled in, were devised by the architects by shifting the position of the vertical wooden battens. An interim solution is only sustainable if it continues to be used and useful. With exactly this in mind, the module design ensures the structures can be dismantled and reassembled easily and quickly so they can be arranged differently at another location. But perhaps the building will be allowed to remain standing, because there is only one thing more permanent than a “temporary” solution; an ingenious, perfectly adapted and beautiful one.

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