The school building was built in 1914 and integrated into the ribbon development on Woenselsestraat. The front facade of the school is set back considerably from the building line of the other buildings on the historic ribbon. This location also demonstrates the important function of the school as a beacon for the neighborhood, says FAAM architects. “The story of the historic city is still visible and experienceable here,” the agency said.
The building has a representative front facade and subordinate gables and rear facades, which are sometimes barely drawn out. The uneven roof surface also shows the difference in importance of the front and rear facades. In contrast to the school building, the teacher’s home is aligned with the other homes on the ribbon.
Fortification of monument
For the transformation, FAAM architects proposes a number of interventions to the existing school building in its design. The agency respects and enhances the historical and architectural value of the building, which is classified as a municipal monument. First of all, the architectural firm wants to remove two steel escape stairs at the rear, which significantly detract from the architectural appearance.
The structure of the corridor school is then strengthened. This is done first of all by using the corridors as a structuring principle for the organization of the homes. The agency also extends the corridors by making openings in the end walls. FAAM architects adds an outdoor space on one side and an outdoor space with hanging net on the other side, which becomes a collective meeting place.
The beautiful, centrally located stairwell will be topped off to make the top floor accessible. Here, under the roof, two additional apartments are being built. This fits well next to the high chimney and remains subordinate to the main volume, the architectural firm explains. Furthermore, skylights and chapels are added and terraces are cut into the roof surface at the rear.
New construction and outdoor space
In addition to the transformation of the school building, the location offers space for new construction, which will be realized next to the monument. The old building and the new building are separate, but are connected by the hanging net that FAAM architects creates in the extension of the facade opening in the school building.
“Residents and visitors pass under this net to enter the new collective outdoor space,” says Emile van Vugt, architect and partner in the firm. The home entrances in the new building are accessible via the collective outdoor area.
Relationship in color, material and proportion
The new building must be placed in the same building line as the monument. That is why the architectural firm consciously chooses to read the old building and the new building as one ensemble, with a strong relationship in material, color and proportions of the facade openings.
This creates a self-evident whole, with one expression in building mass, building line and interaction with the environment, the agency explains. By designing the new building as a modern interpretation of the old building and by maintaining a space between the two volumes, the school building remains perceived as solitary.
FAAM architects calls the transformation with new construction a great challenge for regenerative design, which for the firm represents a holistic vision of sustainability. “In this specific case, it is mainly about ecologically strengthening the currently poor location in that respect,” Van Vugt explains. “We are increasing the density at this location and at the same time the ecological value in terms of water and biodiversity.”
The transformation of this school building is part of a second group of old school buildings that the municipality of Eindhoven is selling, about two years after the first batch. This time too, the municipality assessed the registrations and rated quality as higher than the sales price. Eindhoven has chosen the design by FAAM architects from fourteen entries.