Home » Amsterdam set to build up to 30 wooden modular schools

Amsterdam set to build up to 30 wooden modular schools

by Liam Turner
A CGI rendering of one of the new wooden modular schools in Amsterdam

A collective of architects, engineers, builders, and researchers have designed a modular building concept that will act a template for up to 30 new schools in the Amsterdam area.

The three-storey plug-and play system, the ‘HoutKern Bouwmethode’, conceived by the Circlewood consortium, is comprises a series of standardised wooden columns and cross-laminated floors connected by recycled steel joints.

Components are digitally controlled in a bid to shorten assembly times and are built on site with the assistance of an electric crane.

According to the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), which is acting as the collective’s creative director, this approach reduces nitrogen emissions by 80%, when compared with standard construction methods.

The base’s load-bearing walls enclose areas that can be used as classrooms, auditoriums, and gardens.

The walls are made from carbon-absorbing materials and can be used to support indoor climbing and vertical farming.

The base is flexible and allows an architect to work with the schoolboard to determine the final plans.

A pilot school has been developed in collaboration with Studio A Kwadraat that contains bike storage and a large central hall.

Functioning as an integrated children’s centre, the building has a unique façade on each side, characterised by elements such as canopies and bike storage facilities that respond to the context and specific needs.

The program, layout, and appearance of the building can be refined and adapted over time, according to the designers.

‘A kind of construction kit’

Commenting on the design, Michael den Otter, OMA’s project architect, said: “The system components are durable, adaptable, and easily assembled – this offers flexibility for the schools to shape learning environments that suit their identities.”

Jimmy van der Aa, an architect at Studio A Kwadraat, added: “The method is a kind of construction kit, with many technical requirements resolved upfront.

“This allows us as an architect to quickly set up a clear structure of the building, and we can fully focus on the final user and the client.”

The current system designed by OMA and the Circlewood partners is to be further refined, and in the future could be applied outside of Amsterdam and the Netherlands, according to the partners.

It is hoped that the project will contribute to Amsterdam’s plan to halve the use of primary raw materials by 2030 and become a fully circular economy by 2050.

Image: CGI rendering of one of the new wooden modular schools in Amsterdam. Credit: Studio A Kwadraat/OMA

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