The Heilig Hart College is an amalgam of historical buildings surrounded by playgrounds and streets and located next to the city park. Therefore it plays an important role in the city scene.
The new building’s design and use of material are clear references to the eclectic architecture of the main building. In that way, the new architectonic concrete refers to the existing grey bluestone. This accentuates the horizontal strokes of both buildings. The vertical character is created by linking different widths of prefabricated brickwork modules, creating the image of a library shelf filled with books which symbolizes the dynamic and the structure of the school. During the day, the shading effect of these modules will continually alter the character of the façade.
The energy level of the building is reduced as much as possible by using fully automated sunscreens and a high output lighting system that only works when movement is detected or when there is insufficient daylight. Other techniques also contribute in keeping the energy level down, such as CO2-controlled ventilation with heat exchanger, good insulation and a low-temperature heating system. Furthermore, the use of city water is kept to a minimum by reusing harvested rainwater.
The hallways are wedge-shaped due to the parallel layout of the new building to both front lane and the existing eclectic main building. This increases the perspectival view and due to the widening of the hallway, the circulation is slowed down and serves as a meeting place.
The infant’s playground is located below the street level. Concealed from the traffic above, they can run off energy on the self-designed play equipment.
The classrooms are shoved under the building like black building blocks. In between these blocks coloured passages connect the outdoor playground with the preschoolclassroom and the indoor playground. The different colours of the rainbow give a sense of direction and recognition to the children. Each class has a play tower with a built-in staircase, which connects the ground floor to the mezzanine.
Uniform classrooms are located on the upper three floors. These can be individually styled with different shelves, tables and other storage elements. The walls of the hallways are almost all glass in order to maximize the infiltration of natural light deep into the building.Built-in closets are integrated in the hallway and can be used on both sides. Based on their colour they also serve as recognition points: white for classrooms and red for the teacher’s room, the administrative offices and the director’s office. Closets are also built in the modules of the façades to provide a major functionality.
On the 4th floor there is an auditorium with a seating capacity of 360 persons and a foyer, which offers views on the city and the park. After school hours, this floor is open to organizations for exhibitions and activities.
The balance betweenthe ecological -, the economical, thesocial - and pedagogical aspects and the architectural aspects is what makes this school an exemplary school.