Nederland
Belgie Belgique
Christelijk Lyceum Veenendaal   landscapem

Where Christian Lyceum Veenendaal opened its doors over 50 years ago, you will now find a future-oriented and almost energy-neutral school of secondary education. Ready for the future, while respecting its past. The architectural firms NOAHH and Ex Interiors realised the new, sustainable building and its interior. Gispen supplied all the individual furnishings for the multifunctional learning environment, including recess areas, teachers' workstations, the auditorium and the office environment. A striking and characteristic atrium lies at the heart of the building.     

SUSTAINABILITY AND CIRCULARITY AS A TOP PRIORITY

Client Jeroen van den Berg, Head of Operations at Christian Lyceum Veenendaal: "With our renovated school, we want to set an example for the next generation, especially as an educational institution. It is for this reason that sustainability and circularity played an important role. Old buildings like ours are full of valuable raw materials that can be reused. We managed to reuse no less than 40% of the old building and made sure these materials were visible in the new building. From the concrete structure to old works of art that we had cut out. All involved parties adopted the same circular principles, from the architect and interior designer to our furnishing partner Gispen. The result is a striking building that will enable us to move forward as an educational institution for many years to come.”

A flexible, multifunctional layout and interior

The school was adamant to closely involve staff and students in the realisation of both the interior design and the furnishing. Jeroen van den Berg: “Out of 180 staff members, at least 50 were very actively involved through work groups. We involved the students through sustainability assignments and the Student Council.”

A key guiding principle for the building was flexibility in use: "Each domain within our education system has its own classrooms and a learning square. Each learning square provides space for various work methods and project work. We wanted to create a flexible and multifunctional layout and design, which also applies to the new atrium. The building from 1968 has literally and figuratively been opened up and an atrium has emerged in between the retained walls. This open and airy space is the optimal foundation for a dynamic educational environment; providing space for both learning and working areas. On the stairs students and teachers meet each other or catch up informally. The atrium is also where performances, parent events and meetings are held. Jeroen van den Berg: "The atrium serves as the social heart of our school. I am quite proud of the fact that we have achieved this fantastic result together."    

 

A personal colour and character

Interior architect Odette Ex: "In consultation with NOAHH we opted for a very open architecture. Where nowadays you often see a wooden grandstand staircase as a functional connector between the ground floor and the floors above, we wanted to give the atrium its very own colour and character. This is why we opted for a picture-perfect staircase in petrol blue that runs upwards like a sculpture. The floors rotate along with it, from the ground floor to the second floor. All the learning squares are situated around this sculptural staircase. These have deliberately been kept neutral as to not distract attention from the eye-catching staircase. Matching accent colours reappear in the floors and walls of the classrooms, with lighter shades of blue. The furniture is in keeping with this environment.”   

 

Striking a balance between function, comfort, aesthetics and individual needs

Gispen was awarded the contract following a European tender process and various trial setups. Jeroen Ideler, Senior Business Manager at Gispen: "With the help of the end users, we started looking for the right balance between function, comfort, aesthetics, maintenance and the individual needs of teachers and students. We also took facility requirements into account, such as the ability to easily stack or move chairs without damaging the floor." The classrooms are furnished with Presikhaaf student desk sets with proper floor gliders on the legs, of course. The school opted for a combination of single and dual desks for the teachers from the Gispen TMNL furniture line, together with ergonomic and highly comfortable ZINN office chairs. The auditorium is filled with linkable auditorium chairs: Casala Lynx.   

 

What do you think of the result?

Jeroen van den Berg: "At the moment, we have about 1,000 students in school a day because of Covid; where normally we would have around 2,000. This, at the same time, came in handy because it allowed us to build things up gradually. What I am personally impressed with is that both the staircase and the learning squares were packed from the very beginning. All the seating arrangements clearly capture the imagination: studying in a coach seat, conferring in booths with or without walls, working at a high or low table... everything is provided for. Christian Lyceum Veenendaal actually has several buildings. We intend to renovate the other buildings from the same circular principles. We have entered into a long-term contract with Gispen for the interior design." 

 

 

Photography: Chris van Koeverden

Photo Odette Ex: Janita Sassen

 

portrait of Odette Ex web
Odette Ex, Founder/interior architect Ex Interiors

A WORD FROM THE INTERIOR ARCHITECT

“The outdated school building has been given a new soul. I think it's quite striking to see how the building has transformed. I have worked with Gispen for many years. I know they are willing to think everything through. It's always a challenge to not sway from the design you have in mind as an interior designer and keeping it all within budget. We have succeeded though, and have done so in close consultation with Gispen, the architect, the client and the end users.”

WE MOVED HOUSE DURING THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS AND IT WAS QUITE CHALLENGING FROM A SCHEDULING POINT OF VIEW. I REALLY FELT SUPPORTED BY GISPEN. I WANTED TO BE UNBURDENED FROM START TO FINISH. AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.
Jeroen van den Berg Head of Operations at Christian Lyceum Veenendaal
portrait of Jeroen van den Berg
Jeroen van den Berg - Head of Operations at Christian Lyceum Veenendaal

THE CLIENT’S THOUGHTS

“Together with Gispen we assessed which furniture items could be refurbished and reused. Most of the furniture was already 25 years old, but we were able to refurbish some of it and Gispen exported the remainder to developing countries. I found the move quite challenging: will everything work out according to plan? After the Christmas holidays, the first classes were planned to take place in the new building. Gispen handled everything with great care. Everything was where is was supposed to be from the onset, and packing materials were cleared away; I actually gave them a compliment for that." 

Brightlands Center Court   landscapem

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