OMA, Studio A Kwadraat, and their Schools by Circlewood consortium have won a competition for the design of a school on the outskirts of Amsterdam. The Wisperweide school, which will house a preschool and after-school care, is the first to apply the consortium’s prefabricated modular system previously reported by Archinect in May.
The team’s "plug and play" system comprises standardized wooden columns, cross-laminated wooden floor panels, smart steel joints, and movable partitions. Around the compact school’s auditorium, learning spaces are divided into two distinctive zones for toddlers and older children. Each zone has its own entrance and outdoor playground, in addition to classrooms with largely transparent facades and walls.
Modular partitions allow the classrooms and corridors to be configured differently according to the preferences of the children and teachers. As the school develops over time, the team expects that more classrooms can be added to the north by removing the existing northern façade and expanding the modular structural framework.
“Our design promises a safe and stimulating environment for children to learn, collaborate, and explore their unique potential,” said Studio A Kwadraat project architect Jimmy van der Aa about the scheme. “With flexible spaces, a welcoming atmosphere, and attention to diversity, our design for Wisperweide is a ground for a better future, where children learn to positively contribute to the community and the world around them.”
Outside, the building façade is defined by horizontal bands and large windows, as well as canopies marking key entrances. Inside, partition walls can be adapted for different uses ranging from lockers, coat racks, and storage spaces to exhibition walls. According to the team, the timber modular framework also accommodates a range of material and color finishes.
“The design of Wisperweide demonstrates the potential of the wooden modular system in creating highly adaptable buildings,” said OMA Managing Partner David Gianotten about the project. “As all the structural and technical challenges have been resolved when we developed the system, we can focus on working closely with the school to define the different spatial scenarios that suit its vision, and to offer a roadmap to improve the education environment over time.”
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