Open-air school

Cliostraat 40
J. Duiker
Bestuur van (neutrale) bijzondere school
Tram 5 en 24, haltes Stadionweg/Beethovenstraat
P. Groenendijk, P. Vollaard, Gids voor moderne architectuur in Amsterdam/Guide to modern architecture in Amsterdam, Rotterdam 1996; Guus Kemme (red.), Amsterdam Architecture - A guide, Amsterdam 1996.

Modernist school building in an inner courtyard

The open-air school in Cliostraat is part of a series of open-air schools, most of which were situated in the countryside and were intended for sick children. Duiker designed the ‘First Open-air School for the Healthy Child’ for a site in the inner courtyard of a projected urban block in Amsterdam Zuid. In order to meet the hygiene requirements of optimal penetration of sunlight and air, Duiker minimized the construction, a working method which is characteristic of the Nieuwe Bouwen (the Dutch Modern Movement). He opted for a concrete frame and slender steel window frames with an abundance of glass.

The school, which comprises a main building with seven classrooms (two on each storey and one on the ground floor), a gymnasium and in the south wall a low portal building, which probably dates from 1932, was altered on a number of occasions, as a result of which its original ‘airy’ character was spoiled. Between 1937 and 1939, the ground floor, designed by the architectural firm J. & P. Cuypers, was extended; a handicrafts classroom was added and, at entresol level, an annex to the headmaster’s room.

A. Komter renovated the main building in 1955 and in 1986 the portal building was radically altered by the architect J.M. Peeters; the headmaster’s residence was converted into a space for infants and a new glass stairwell was added on the side of the inner courtyard. In the years 1993 and 1994, the building’s original slenderness was partly restored, and, moreover, the original colour scheme (white, black and so-called ‘Duiker blue’) was reinstated. (ARCAM/OD)