Montessori College Oost

Architectuurstudio Herman Hertzberger
Stichting Montessori Scholengemeenschap Amsterdam
Ballast Nedam Utiliteitsbouw
Marc Schoonderbeek, 'Stedelijke ruimte of innovatief panopticum', de Architect, april 2000, p.74-77.

School for vocational training

Montessori College Oost is a school for technical and vocational training in which some thousand pupils of 56 different nationalities receive instruction. As is the case with Hertzberger’s previous designs for schools, here, too, the architect wanted to create a familiar, inviting environment – a complex which evokes associations with the city and the street, places where young people like to hang out together.

The spatial organization of the school is based on this paradigm, with the spaces joined together as in a city. The floor plan is V-shaped. The classrooms are housed in the long side, parallel to the street. In the low side situated behind this are the work places and the gymnasium. The section connecting the two blocks has been designed as a covered inner court in the centre of the building – a spacious, high hall where the entire school community can assemble. From this hall, a central open staircase ‘dances’ into the space. All of the storeys and classrooms are directly accessible from here.

A high walkway runs the entire length of the block. The classrooms, toilets and other communal facilities are situated on this ‘street’. Some of the stairs are extra wide and are designed to be used as seating. Here, pupils can meet or study. There are more work spaces in the balustrade of the wide gallery, in which folding tables have been incorporated.
In the entire building, sober, durable materials have been used; there is a large amount of glass and a striking use of colour on the columns in the galleries. (ARCAM/BU)