From the architect. As a farm with several buildings, The American School of The Hague in Wassenaar (Netherlands) is expanded for The Early Childhood. This set-up fits the small scale of the surroundings.
The existing 16th century farmhouse ‘Ter Weer’ is restored and incorporated in the new complex that integrated into the environment and the landscape. The school has a capacity for 230 children from 0 to 6 years and includes a nursery, twelve classrooms, a gym and a multipurpose room. The entrance is is designed as a monumental glass heart between the farm and the ‘barn’.
Dialogue between old and new
The dialogue between the two buildings, can be experienced both inside and outside. The expansion is partly deepened to encroach the monument not too much. The materialization of the new building refers to a barn by applying wood substructures, caps and wooden parts for wall cladding.
The barn houses all the classrooms and the library. Because of the inclined slope even the lower floors receive enough daylight. The classrooms are characterized by the entry of natural light, the use of healthy materials and the direct relationship with the surrounding landscape. The farmhouse houses the administrative functions of the school a lunch room for 100 children, a kitchen, a nursery and a art room.
The sports facilities are put in a separate building with a gymnasium, changing rooms, a canteen/clubhouse of the local handball association. The building is designed as two interlocking volumes with sloping green roofs, matching the shape of the extension and rural character of the surroundings. A large window is placed in the gymnasium overlooking the connecting bridge to the main building and offers insight from the school and outside play areas .
Around the school are several playgrounds to suit the different age groups. They are designed by design studio Van Ginneken with greenery, seating and educational components. The Wild Play Area is designed and constructed by the local gardener Gerrit Veenma. Hedges, wooden fences and gentle slopes locks provide a friendly separation between the different squares. In an adjacent parking site there are gravel pavement and rows of trees between the parking places.
The building is fully integrated into the environment and the surrounding landscape. The design of the landscape is based on the objectives of the school. A healthy environment where young children playfully learn why sustainability matters. By using water and natural materials to show how energy is generated children get in a natural way in contact with this theme. The building makes use of solar energy, LED fixtures, cold and heat storage, wastewater reuse and cradle to cradle materials such as Accoya cladding.
Location: Wassenaar, Netherlands
Design Team: Kraaijvanger, Rotterdam
Team: Hans Goverde, Annemiek Bleumink, Laurence Meulman, Patrick Keijzer, Nol van den Boer
Area: 3900.0 sqm
Photographs: Ronald Tilleman