Nicolaas Maesschool

Nicolaas Maesstraat
Meyer & Van Schooten
Tram 16, bus 170-172, stop Jacob Obrechtstraat
Joost Ector, 'Heldere en neutrale vorm biedt rust', de Architect, juni 1999, p.50-53.

Primary school building

The school is situated in the inner court of an urban block in Amsterdam South, surrounded by architecture of the Amsterdam School. The brief was complex. It called for abundant daylighting in the building, but in order to save energy the number of windows was to be restricted. The classrooms had to be spacious, but their height was limited by the budget.

Even so, many of the requirements in the brief were met by designing a compact building and by using inexpensive materials such as the facade cladding of translucent corrugated plastic sheets. Narrow strips of fenestration with thin, slightly projecting cedarwood window frames intersect the facade. The compactness of the building is emphasized by the dark brick plinth.

The clarity of the exterior is echoed in the floor plans. Each storey is bisected by a corridor. Where possible, these consist of glazed walls so that light penetrates right into the heart of the building. On each storey there are four classrooms which are situated on the north side because of the climate control. In between the classrooms are spaces where pupils can work individually. The sliding doors in these spaces allow teachers to keep an eye on two classes at the same time if necessary. On the other side of the corridor are offices, a play area, stairwells and also the double-height assembly hall. On the roof are a library and a roof terrace. What is striking is the virtual absence of colour, which gives rise to a tranquil and serene atmosphere. (ARCAM/Bu)