an all-round feeling
orientation, scale and feeling at home
Lorentz School, Leiden
This new school for 900 pupils and two residential buildings together containing 39 apartments stand on the site of the former Lorentz School. Together they assemble around existing high-grade greenspace which informs the character of the new public plaza between school and housing. This greenspace closes ranks with that on Van Vollenhovenkade.
Taking 'an all-round feeling' as its principal theme, the design secures orientation, recognition and a subtleness of scale for pupils and residents alike.
To approach this primary school, centrally positioned in the block and oriented to all sides, is a finely-scaled, vibrant experience. The youngest children, the juniors, have three scattered points of entry to their domain of four classrooms, from where they can explore the rest of the school. The middle and senior schoolchildren each have their own yard which leads them through the heart of the school to their separate floors. Each age group has its own storey where it can develop its talents. 'Houses' divide the storeys into spaces that are finely scaled and easy to read. Vertical connections via stairs and wells encourage interaction between all age groups.
At the heart of the school, accessible to all the groups, are the main hall and documentation centre draped with terraces, with stairs and landings enfolding the gym hall and stitching all floors together. For the monthly stage performances this multi-purpose space can be transformed into a festive hall with a foyer, seating and stage.
The design includes the architecture and interior design.
Designing for Education, 2011, p163-165