An existing school building from the 20th century is being renovated into an urban lyceum with room for 240 students. The building is hidden in a dense, urban inner area in Antwerp, surrounded by housing. The project seeks a balance between subtle renovation and creating new qualities where necessary: connecting existing classrooms by means of interior windows and large door assemblies, creating a covered outdoor space, adding fixed interior furniture in each classroom, creating a patio between front and main building, ...
A row house with historic facade on which 'boys' school' is written in large letters forms the entrance porch to the building complex. This front building will become the new teacher's house. Elevated above the entrance, it will have its own place. A patio gives the secretariat a view of the entrance. A hallway leads to the playground. Centred around the imposing stairwell are the rooms for the management, secretariat and care staff.
What is special about the original concept of the school building is that it was built without corridors. The stairwells form the only circulation and provide access to two classrooms on each floor. Consequently, the central open space plays an important role in the circulation: the stairwells are reached via the playground. We create a canopy around the playground that connects these stairwells. The canopy widens locally to form a covered outdoor space. We introduce steps here, creating a place to linger during playtime or a stage for plays, performances, school parties, etc. The school focuses on creative studies and offers space for media, dance and sports. At the head of the playground, the original bathhouse makes room for a sports and dance hall and after-school clubs. The classrooms spread over the ground floor and the first floor. We interconnect some of the classrooms with an opening wall that allows flexible use. The top floor will be transformed into a creative attic with music, media, P.E. and science classrooms. Here, the original studio windows that were replaced by smaller windows in 1980 will be recreated. The views over the historic rooftop landscape and the abundant indirect Northern Lights make these classrooms the most beautiful in the school.