Elementary School Geraardsbergen
The existing primary school of Geraardsbergen is nested within the absurdly complex inner centre of this historical Flemish town. However complex its surroundings, the school was in need of a considerable extension (8 classes and a polyvalent space/sports hall). In our proposal, we separated the polyvalent space from the classes to protect the scarce amount of leftover space on the site.
The volume with classrooms was designed as a slim vertical beam (6 by 36 meters and app. 10 meters high), adjoined to the existing building. The wide hallways and staircases could thus be reused to access this new wing. By recycling square meters, we were able to offer the school larger (and taller) classrooms.
The polyvalent space on the other hand, had a strong horizontal character. To build as compactly as possible, the horizontal space was positioned against the existing school, in its inner-area. The facades of this bold volume lead children, parents and teachers to the new entrance and reception of their school, covered by a large steel canopy.
By adding a separate entrance facing the street, the polyvalent space also functions independently from the school. This is an important aspect as the school aims to be a “broad school” in the near future.