The Horizon College in Alkmaar wanted to improve the interior of their main campus. The building – with capacity for almost 400 students – has already undergone several changes since it was completed in 2008. The architectural layout is flexible. A spacious column structure allows for easy rearrangement. However, because of the long L-shaped floor plan and large scale, staff experience it as an impersonal building where everything feels decentralised.
Open Kaart was asked, together with Atelier Pro, to create a plan to improve the interior. We were challenged, with various study programs and budgets, to come up with a low-impact method with minimal disturbance to teaching and learning.
Developments in education and student populations mean desires and requirements in a school building are always shifting. Horizon lacks a cohesive approach to improvements based on these changing needs.
The interior concept must provide a strategy for the long-term direction of the spatial qualities in the building, as well as tools to take on immediate changes.
We gathered information about important opportunities and obstacles in the building through several workshops. This was translated into concrete building blocks for the design, to invigorate and bring cohesion to the interior. This came together in an attractive concept that provides direction for the future, where small changes can deliver big results.
A School with a Heart
The result is a strategic interior vision that can be executed step by step over the next ten years.
Involving the organisation in the improvement of the work and learning environment is not only an important step in the design process, but an essential component in the interior concept itself. The building blocks of the interior concept – tasks, visual design elements, engaging perspectives, and values – come together in a unique way of looking at and working on educational buildings; step by step and open to learning along the way.
Deep engagement with the educational institution led to a combination of flexibility and cohesion. This also created drive to think about a larger intervention in the building: relocating the main entrance.
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