At 35 years old, very nearly a classic, these twin schools by Herman Hertzberger are seminal projects that influenced many architects who design schools. Hertzberger made a break from the modernist tradition with a more humanist approach to architecture, carefully considering how buildings can be designed to function in response to the culture and day-to-day social activities that occur within them. For this school, this meant the transformation of the typical long, dark hallway lined with lockers into a vibrant three-story atrium that intimately connects ten classrooms in each building.
Our JUST ONE THING this week is this central atrium that serves as the heart of each school – a small public space scaled with forum-style seating for large group gatherings. Well daylit from above, with views to the urban neighborhood outside as well as into each classroom, it’s distinguished by well-crafted intimate spaces for students to work along the edges of this cozy communal space.
The intimacy and inviting scale helps to reinforce the sense of a small tight-knit school community. Parents arriving on bicycles in the morning with their children hang out here before work, talking to teachers, parents, and other children. The result is an open, engaging, and connected atmosphere that invites each student to find their own place within each school.