Location: Rotsoord, Utrecht [NL]
Program: Primary school
Gross floor area: 2200m2
Type: Academic project
Subject: Urban Architecture
MSc 1: Back to School
Mechthild Stuhlmacher /
Mikel van Gelderen /
Niels Groeneveld /
Rotsoord Revised is a transformation project aimed at revitalizing a school in the namesake district of Utrecht. Originally designed by Antonio Salvatore (Utrechtse Dienst Openbare Werken) in the 1950’s for the hearing impaired, the school now serves an even broader group of children diagnosed with behavioural- or sensory processing disorders.
The architect dealt with the children’s conditions by implementing a distinct classroom footprint: the hexagon. This geometric form puts the educator in the middle of attention, making him/her as audible and visible as possible.
A couple of years later the school turned out to be too small to serve every child in need of this adequate way of education. Continuous expansion had begun. Although the first extension was realised by the same architect, this was unfortunately not the case with the ones which followed. Resulting in an unlogical, cluttered and outdated school building which was not able to serve its purpose anymore.
The project has built upon the same beliefs of the original architect, convinced that also this group of children have the right to be educated in the best learning environment as possible. The strategic dismantling of obsolete structures leaves the plot with the original design of 1958. New educational wings will embrace the original architecture, making it important again. The new gym and ambulante dienst are placed onto a pedestal at the frontside of the scheme, exhibiting the caring character of the school to its environment. The intervention is concluded by the addition of an open central corridor which brings together both the educational wings as well as the park and schoolyard.