Het Bovenland

Akersluis 1, Amsterdam
Alberts & Van Huut

Primary school Het Bovenland is situated in an ecological zone in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. The school was designed by the architectural office Alberts & Van Huut. This office produces designs in an organic style and is well known for, among other things, the ING Bank headquarters in Amsterdam Zuidoost.

Organic design
Alberts & Van Huut design in accordance with the ideas of organic construction. Organic construction does not have any specific stylistic features, but does have a definite design philosophy. For example, a building must not only be functional, it must also express a feeling and imagination. In the design for Het Bovenland, the experiential world of the child was of central importance. The school therefore has playful forms and features a series of rainbow colours. Indeed, the use of such colours is typical of organic architecture and interiors by Alberts & Van Huut.

Ecological zone
Another principle of organic architecture is that the design should, as far as possible, blend in with its surroundings. Nature is the source of inspiration for designs and the buildings are in keeping with their context. Het Bovenland is situated in ‘the Green Axis’, an ecological zone connecting the nature areas between Amstelland and Spaarnwoude. Construction was preceded by a debate as to whether an ecological zone should be built on. Because the design fits in with the surroundings, however, construction was eventually able to go ahead. With its organic forms, green elevations and sedum roofs, the design blends into the landscape. Furthermore, the design derives not only from its location in the ecological zone, but also from the characteristic features of the village of Sloten and the nature of the school.

Community school
Het Bovenland is a community school in which various functions are combined. The building houses not only a primary school, but also an after-school club and a playgroup. The school is built in such a way, with spacious classrooms and a multifunctional theatre in the centre, that the building could be used for other purposes in the future. (Annabel Kamphuis/ARCAM)