Geert Groote College

Fred. Roeskestraat 82
Anton van Es & partners; SeARCH
Stichting Geert Groote College
1997; 2010

The Geert Groote College in Fred. Roeskestraat grabs the eye with its unusual design. This ‘free’ secondary school was designed in 1997 by the architectural office Anton van Es & partners. The design deliberately ties in with the principles of ‘free’ school education and so-called organic architecture. It takes account of nature, the needs of people and the building’s function.
The buildings of 1997 are built of brick with trapezium-shaped windows, red window frames and white decorative beams that mark the various storeys.

In 2010 work began on the construction of a five-storey building with 4000 m2 of floor space. This extension was necessary in order to provide extra space for the 750 pupils and some one hundred members of staff.
The architectural office SeARCH designed the new building, which also takes its cue from anthroposophical ideas and ‘organic’ architecture. SeARCH sought to design a building with a distinct architectural presence but which was also in keeping with the style of the existing complex. By avoiding right angles and by employing trapezium shapes and red accents in the design, the new building fits in well with the existing organic architecture of 1997.

Enclosed location
Nature was the source of inspiration for the building’s main form, in which each function has its own form. The building is thus divided into three sections, with each section housing a different age group. The three entrances are located on different levels. The entrance for the senior pupils, on the first floor, projects above the others. The idea behind this is that all the children are able to feel at home in a section of the building that is specifically geared to them.

The enclosed location left little room for a school playground. A solution was found by adding a stepped playground and by moving the entrance to the street side. This created space for a bicycle storage facility underneath the playground and a more natural connection with the public realm.

The building is supported by two rows of zigzagging columns and an unusual steel structure. There was limited space for a new building between the existing buildings, which called for light and small building sections. The new building was completed in 2014.
(Text: Ismay Rentenaar / ARCAM, photo: Jan de Wit)