Education is no longer only between four walls. And the relationships between the school building and the play area, the pupils and the community are becoming increasingly important.
The competition asked for a vision of a new outdoor space, a school and a sports hall to the existing complex, the Institute Sacred Heart of Mary in the small Flemish village of Berlaar. Our concept lets the existing and new landscape determine the character of the area like the garden of the monastery. Thought of as a series of islands, the landscape alternates paved or green to give the students different possibilities to move, meet, play sports or just to rest. The school building very compact, designed in three layers where the landscape extends into the school. Natural daylight and views over the countryside makes the center of the building a pleasant and orderly place to study. The sports hall is compact as possible where the existing gymnasium, together with the new hall to a new building with a clear sculptural form made, lined with vertical elements behind glass in some places by the light enters.
In the design of the school an optimal indoor air quality is achieved due to the use of natural materials to pollution of indoor air by Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to minimize the use of a mechanical ventilation system. Solar gain is regulated by the North oriented skylights and efficient blinds spot of the facades. The energy efficiency of the building is realized by a compact building with a favorable ratio between the floor surface and outer surface. Due to the relatively small wall and roof can close and open facade parts optimally insulated within the available budget. The balanced ventilation with heat recovery on the exhaust air from both the rooms and the atrium.

Location: Berlaar, BE
Year: 2011
Competition: Second Prize
Program: Secondary School education and gym facilities: 5,400 m2 educational program, 1,850 m2 sport facilities
Client: Schools of Tomorrow, Fortis Bank Brussels
Associates: Oever Zaaijer architectuur en stedebouw