In the Dutch community of Maasniel, the nature of a tree is the inspiration behind Architectenbureau Coppen’s school extension project comprising four new classrooms as well as a new library, outdoor theater and central space for meeting and open learning.
The symbolism of a tree is used to organize new uses and new ways of teaching within an existing traditional corridor-style school. In the words of architect Hans Coppen, “Teaching is no longer about telling children facts. It is about sharing ideas to foster enthusiasm for a new world, not the world we think we know. People gather under a tree. The new central area here is like a tree as it offers a place for gathering, for sharing stories and ideas.”
Just as the canopy of a tree offers a feeling of safety and enclosure, small huts made of ROCKPANEL Wood are located throughout the learning environment, offering children a quiet space to wind down from group activities. On the building's exterior, colourful tree-like shapes clad the classroom facades and overlap the edges of windows, creating a playful and familiar element for the school’s youngest age group of 4-6 year olds.
This is the first project in the Netherlands realised with ROCKPANEL Brilliant. The Brilliant line was an obvious fit for the school project, offering a wide range of bright, appealing colours for children as well as a variety of softer green shades that mimic the hues of nearby trees, bark and mosses. The easy to cut panels lend themselves to creativity, and the sparkling sheen embedded in the finish of the Brilliant line enlivens these colours, bringing the building even more to life when sunlight touches it.