Het 4e Gymnasium

Archangelweg 4
Paul de Ruiter & Noud Paes
Gemeente Amsterdam
Dura Vermeer
Van Rossum
Bus 22, 48, 748

High School Het 4e Gymnasium

Amsterdam’s former timber docks the Houthavens are to be developed into a spectacular residential area in the coming years, but it will not be an easy task. The form of the future neighbourhood (a system of jetties on which dwellings are to be built) implies a confrontation with the docks and the pollution control regulations pertaining to them. Partly because of this the process has been delayed over the years and sections of the area have been allocated for temporary use. In 2005, for example, hvdn architects realized temporary student accommodation here and in 2008, within a year, a school building for ‘Het 4 Gymnasium’.

The architects were inspired on the one hand by the material that has determined the character of the area (wood) and on the other hand by the students’ shiny gadgets, such as ipods. In addition, it seemed logical to build the school using a modular system so that it could be dismantled and relocated. At the same time, it was the intention that the building should, as far as possible, not have a temporary appearance.

The result is a quadrangle of 125 containers, with a courtyard surrounded by a corridor and classrooms. On the street side a double height assembly hall interrupts the container structure.
The façade shows that the school has three storeys but hides the fact that it is composed of containers. This has been achieved largely through careful detailing. Having positioned the prefabricated modules, the joints in between were concealed from view by means of red and orange aluminium panels and by vertical wooden strips placed at intervals. (ARCAM/FG)