The educational institution Melanchthon wanted to make a statement with its newly constructed pre-vocational school Berkroden. They have definitely succeeded, which is something that the robust-looking architecture and transparent look has contributed to, as well as the future-proof interior design by Gispen.
Going on a journey at school
Berkroden stands for safe and challenging education around the theme of ‘Preparing for the world’. Conny Boegheim, Berkroden Assistant Director: ‘Just look at all that our students can do. We wanted to incorporate this awareness into a beautiful building with a stylish appearance, with close attention to colour, furniture and working methods.’ The building reflects this awareness. Everything is opened up and transparent, so you can see and be seen from every angle. The central reception area has been designed like a train platform; there are benches, a real platform clock and large photos of train stations on the walls. Boegheim: ‘You truly go on a journey at our school and we help you reach your destination.’
Designed from experience and feel
Gispen contributed to the interior design concept, which was created in close consultation with the architects of Spring Architects and 010/architects. Our interior architect tried to see the world through the eyes of a student and asked himself how the school wanted to present itself. This is the point from where we started designing, because the most important thing was the way the environment was to be used. Adding products is only the final step. Gispen provided the client with a tailored solution: from a custom-made bar at the restaurant to a built-in cabinet in the staff room that conceals the kitchen.
Before and during the construction of the new building, the school was temporarily housed 200 metres down the road. Circularity and reuse is very important to Gispen which is why we decided to upgrade the existing furniture. Every single piece of furniture – which had not been supplied by Gispen, by the way – was checked mechanically and altered where possible. The student desks, for example, have been equipped with new tabletops and floor gliders. Something the school won’t have to worry about for another 15 years.
Jeroen Verweij, Business Manager Education at Gispen: ‘We have made a real effort in making sure that Berkroden’s interior is future proof. The flexible interior design even allows for lessons to be given in areas that were not initially intended for it. Take the auditorium, for example, in which a platform has been installed. We also presented a maintenance proposal to the client. After all, there is always a chance that something in the interior gets damaged, such as the upholstered sofas, for example. The expenses of repairs, maintenance and a possible reupholstery job are minimal when compared to a totally new interior.’
Photography: Chris van Koeverden
The client’s thoughts
‘Education is something you must create on your own, but a good building and a well-thought-out interior will contribute to happier students and teachers. It’s obvious that our students feel at ease here, but they also sit better and behave more properly. Our teachers have also been given their own space; they have a great room where they can work. I wouldn’t have expected that Gispen would be affordable for a school, but as it turns out, it is. And most importantly: their contribution to the entire operation was invaluable. From usage to design and from tailored solutions to furniture maintenance.’
Read the interview with the director of pre-vocational school Berkroden of the educational institution Melanchthon and Gispen’s Jeroen Verweij about this great school. On impressions, flexibility, collaboration and sustainability. School domain Nr 2, 2015.