Greek agora as a starting point for the layout of the school building


On the north bank of the IJ, on the former NDSM wharf – the Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij – the municipality of Amsterdam wants to build its fourth gymnasium.

Three volumes, the main building, substructure and superstructure, are placed next to the existing ramp, which is used as a bicycle shed. The somewhat arbitrary composition of the four buildings is reminiscent of the ancient Greek agora, as an enclosed country estate in the city.

The gymnasium, a school with an emphasis on Greek and Latin, is now becoming an oasis of knowledge in the industrial landscape. The agora, as a meeting place, now serves as a schoolyard. It is surrounded by stoas and other buildings, where teaching is done just like in the ancient Greek world.

In order to compete with the large scale – one of the characteristics of the site – three large volumes are placed next to the existing ramp, which from a distance appear to form one large volume.

The schoolyard, surrounded by colonnades, is at the heart of the segregation from public to private: the public spaces are located on  the schoolyard, while the classrooms are located as far as possible on the outside of the building.

The construction is based on a grid of 4.8 x 4.8 meters, derived from the stelcon plates that are used as paving and are common in an industrial environment. The facade materials used – brick and corrugated steel sheets – refer to the industrial environment. The facade layout is reminiscent of industrial halls: a free placement of windows in a fixed frame.

LOCATION Amsterdam
TYPE Graduation project
YEAR 2008 – 2009