202 De Molen steenpatroon

renovation and expansion of two schools

primary school Edison

The historical images of the impressive school complex on Onderwijzersstraat evoke different emotions: nostalgia, respect, admiration, but also some aversion. The pupils of that time must have felt very small. The elongated schools grandeur is awe-inspiring yet equally intimidating.

Todays perception of education and the associated spaces is much different than 100 years ago. A contemporary school must be an inspiring learning and living environment that presents itself to its surroundings with an open face, not a walled fortress. Yet in our opinion the strict school has timeless, spatial and architectural qualities that make it suitable for a meaningful transformation. Even without extensive changes, Edison can become a school that does justice to its past and at the same time complies much better than before with current educational views. The large playgrounds and gardens play an important role in this.

In our proposal, the generous, clear and symmetrical layout serves as the starting point for a contemporary school that accommodates different forms of education.

location: Hoboken, Antwerp
competition: 2018 (1st price)
design: 2018-2020
realisation: 2021-2024
client: AG Vespa
structural engineer: Goudstikker De Vries, 's Hertogenbosch
advisor technical installations: RCR, Herent
contractor: TM ACH Bouw - Floré - De Molen
illustrations: Rotraut Susanne Berner
Molen Inplantinsplan
Molen Postcard

Onderwijzersstraat in the '50s.

Molen Diagram Old New

old and new: red - existing school, blue - the new additions and covered outdoor spaces

Our plan makes a clear distinction between kindergarten and primary school. The primary school is located in the existing school building, which has been completely renovated. Extra rooms such as the refectory are included in a large, T-shaped extension enclosing the existing school courts. The kindergarten is housed as an independent entity, in a L-shaped extension, on the east side of the main building.

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Molen Axo

We will start with the careful restoration and partial reconstruction of the typological existing Molenschool, with an emphasis on restoring the sequence of outdoor spaces. The original, distinctive roof shape of the northern caretaker's house and continuous school wall will be restored, this stretching the most part of Onderwijzersstraat.

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The largest expansion is the addition of a refectory that connects the former boys' and girls' school as a large and light pavilion located between two courts. The refectory is oriented with two equivalent garden aspects with wide awnings on both courts. Due to the transparency of the façades and large threshold, the new wings create for a light fence to the playgrounds and thus determine the new open character of the indoor and outdoor areas. The language of the new elements is complementary to the existing monumental brick architecture; Instead of creating bounded spaces, inside and out seem to merge into one another.

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The former rear of the classroom building will be completely transformed. A façade at about 2m distance from the existing façade affords the original hallway as a versatile learning and living area, redesigned into a series of intimate learning places. Through the new openings, the learning niches are in open connection with the classes and yet can also be easily closed when necessary. The rooms are an important addition to the restored classrooms, transforming the whole into a contemporary learning environment.

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The new kindergarten is conceived as a stand-alone volume and connected to the main building by a single-storey refectory. The new addition is light and open, yet its character differs from the primary school. The emphasis in the new building is on domesticity and experience from a low perspective, tuned to 'habitation' by very young children.

Two classes each form a unit. All units are located on a multifunctional, wide corridor and living area that can be used as a dining area, informal work and play area. On the first floor, two large dormer windows provide light, views and intimate nooks. On the ground floor, the 'learning street' is in open dialogue with the playground.

Molen Model Kinder
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Molen Street Entrance Long