2021 Brussel

Abscis Architecten - partially roofed toddler's playground

In anticipation of the construction of the 'European School V Brussels', the Belgian Buildings Agency held a (DBM-)competition for the construction of a temporary school on the parking lot of the former NATO headquarters in Haren. 

Abscis Architecten - (c) Abscis Architecten

(c) Abscis Architecten

Abscis Architecten - playground with canopy

playground with canopy

However temporary this environment may be – a pleasant and quality environment for all users is the objective!

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Abscis Architecten - playground with canopy

playground with canopy

Despite its temporary nature and the need for a rapid construction (6 months!), the building had to meet all the requirements of a complete primary school: passive construction, sufficient daylight, a fully equipped kitchen, quality outdoor areas, etc. The essence of the assignment was to build a temporary school in a cost-efficient, user-friendly and climate-friendly manner and with a very limited planning and construction period, in which the attending children can spend an important part of their childhood in a high-quality environment, just as they would in a regular school.

The new, temporary school was conceived with circularity in mind: it was built from 521 standard containers of the Dutch company Jan Snel, which can be fully reused afterwards. The layout of the units was well-considered in order to give all the needs of the school an architectural and spacial interpretation. They were finished as much as possible with materials and techniques that can be reused or recycled. Sustainable and circular concepts were also applied to energy and water management: the roofs are equipped with solar panels and water tanks have been installed for the recovery and usage of rainwater.

Among many aspects, special attention was paid to differentiating between noisy and quiet zones: the nursery school, canteens and sports rooms are located on the ground floor, connected to the playgrounds. The primary school, the management and administration offices and the library are located on the upper floors so they would be less hindered by noise.

It is not yet clear when the temporary European School on the former NATO site will make way for a permanent new school on the same site. The temporary school is expected to stay in use for at least 6 years. However temporary this environment may be – a pleasant and quality environment for all users is the objective!

Abscis Architecten - sports hall

sports hall

Abscis Architecten - stairwell

stairwell

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