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Central College Utrecht

21 April 2011 No Comment

The Central College wants to offer its VMBO/LWOO+ students the security and integration they urgently need in the Utrecht Oost district. It is for this reason that education and building are now adhering to the same clustering principle: from single individual to transparent group. (Source: http://www.rau.nl/ )

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Restructing process

Utrecht Oost is currently the subject of a restructuring process which includes the vicinity of the new premises of the Central College. A reduction in land occupancy, more green areas and low detached buildings are intended to make the district safer and more welcoming.


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By switching to fixed teaching clusters, the Central College wants to endsure that individual students become more visible in the group. Not 1 of the 900 students, but 1 of Clusters which function independently and which can also fulfil a neighbourhood role.

Both aims have been incorporated into the new building. From a central foyer, separate staircases leads to the various distinctive education clusters.

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Conglomerate of buildings

Each cluster has an internal layout and design that is adapted to its set role. Together the clusters do not so much constitute a building, but a campus, a conglomerate of buildings. It is like a separate village within the district, with its own shopping street, restaurant and hairdressers.

After a long periods of frost, a strong wind causes drifts of ice. Ice floes are seized by the wind and are crammed together, shifting upwards in defiance of gravity. When they meet obstacles, they can form ice dams: stop ends.Ice floes jump – like the uncertain life of young people in a big city. The school packs them together on floes and these become stop ends. And a melting ice floe reveals another side: a magnificent blue apparition.

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Low-skyline character of the district

The parts of the building differ in height and there are no more than three floors, which ties in with the low-skyline character of the district. The schoolyard is enclosed on three sides and is layered in a balance between safe and open. The school also has its own roof garden, next to the bikes. Each cluster has its own access routes and lyout, like 6 mni-schools, as was requested. The sports hall is detached, with the changing rooms stacked to save space.

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Extreme layout flexibility is provided: ‘activated’ columns positioned on a grid of 7.20 m by 7.20 m not only support the construction but also accomodate the electricity and the air circulation. The air enters via the floors and is removed via the voids. Floor ducts at 3.60 m accommodate light fixtures, acoustic provisions, water and light. Arobust solution which means that no false ceiling is necessary.

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Practice-based learning: based on doing things! The neighbourhood will benefit as well. For example, the economics students run a restaurant and learn to wait tables at the same time. The school has its own bakery in the shopping street. Students studying Care and Welfare manage a hairdressers salon and a facility for massage treatments. Integration. A plan has been drawn up to enable students to help provide support to senior citizens who live in the district, with the focus on the technical jobs.

Fact File:

  • start: 2004
  • completion: 2010
  • gross floor area: 7.510 m2
  • location: Utrecht
  • function: VWO
  • performance: no radiators, preparations for the future; heat storage in the ground and building cooling system, concrete core activation
  • Colorcoat Prisma: Atlantis, Aquarius, Orion, Pegasus
  • Architect: Rau Architects, Amsterdam
  • System Manufacturer: SAB-profiel bv, IJsselstein
  • Contractor: BAM Utiliteitsbouw
  • Cladding Subcontractor: Nedicom, Asten

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