A disused school building was transformed into an inspirational new home for the Marecollege, an independent secondary school.

About this project

Following urban developments in the city of Leiden, the Marecollege needed to move to a new location. In the Sumatrastraat, an abandoned school building was transformed into a new home for the Marecollege, a secondary Waldorf school for 450 students.

Use of timber

A wide range of timber was used throughout the building. The façade was covered with slate shingles together with lauro gamela and masaranduba wood cladding. Sapupira was chosen for the window frames, while inside, the building benefits from bamboo flooring, an iroko and movingui reception, a special dancefloor in the auditorium made from keroewing, and a birch ceiling in a special 24H design pattern.

Creating a new identity

Dutch architect 24H was commissioned to create a new identity for the school. The design strategy cleverly used extensions to give the existing 1960’s building a new and expressive identity throughout its interior as well as its exterior.

The architects chose a 'lemniscate' shape for the building, clad in natural slate and running from outside to inside, forming a new entrance and central hall guided by the curved organic shape.

A space for free learning

Inside, the designers created special spaces like the auditorium and dance room, as well as typical Waldorf school classrooms for activities such as organic cooking, drawing, painting and textile work.

The U shaped main building has a brickwork facade with wooden details, the outside of which will be covered future flowering plants and shrubs. In the inner courtyard, where the central playground is located, the facade cladding is made out of profiled hardwood strips which create leaf patterns with their shadows.

Fresh air for maximum concentration

All 32 different classrooms have specially designed wooden ceilings and a new 'fresh schooling' ventilation system providing the students with necessary fresh air for maximum concentration.

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Photography: Boris Zeisser

If you want to know more about sustainable procurement of tropical hardwood, click here.

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