Paul de Ruiter

Het Dok

A healthy start in life

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Het DOK is a special type of nursery and primary school, one that serves its community in ways that go beyond the standard provisions of regular schools. Its teaching philosophy is based on the idea that children learn better when they are healthy, feel safe and secure, when learning is fun, and when they can learn and play in natural surroundings. Our design incorporates these conditions by giving prominence to the immediacy of the school’s natural surroundings, blurring the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces, emphasizing the use and visibility of natural building materials, making the building sustainable and facilitating an ample supply of fresh air and daylight.

Education, Interior, Socially sustainable, Healthy schools, Innovative climate system, Sunlight Usage

A safe and secure playground

The school is built around a central courtyard, giving the younger kids a safe and secure place to play outside right at the heart of the school. Older kids enjoy just as much outdoor space on the roof deck.

Inviting nature in

Spending time outdoors is good for the health, but we wanted the kids to enjoy the same benefits indoors. So we decided to make the school’s natural surroundings a tangible presence within the school. To achieve this, we made the façades glass and arranged the classrooms along the façades. We also used wood as our primary building material, leaving the grain exposed. The immediacy of nature is palpable wherever you are in the building.

The school employs an innovative ventilation system that delivers a constant supply of fresh air.

Abundant fresh air

We worked with Arup, the engineering and design firm, to determine how to facilitate thermal comfort by the most natural and energy-efficient means possible. The outcome of our collaboration is a system that admits fresh air through the façade, feeds it to the rest of the building via acoustic grills and vents it from the central stairwell. Our solution eliminated the need for air duct systems, thereby helping to minimize our building material requirements as well as the school’s energy needs.

The basis for a healthy future

We achieved our objective of creating an environment in which pupils and teachers can engage in their respective activities while enjoying the benefits of nature. In so doing, we equipped Het Dok to provide a healthy foundation for its pupils’ future.

Project details


Location Rustenburgerpad, Oegstgeest
Total floor area 3,660 m²
Programm Primary school (14 rooms) with daycare (3 rooms) and kindergarten (2 rooms), after-school childcare facilities (4 rooms), music room, multipurpose space, exhibition room, gymnasium with changing rooms, and community space
Start design November 2010
Start construction June 2013
Completion August 2014


Client Municipality Oegstgeest
Tenant ABS Het DOK, Stichting Kinderopvang Oegstgeest, Municipality of Oegstgeest, Instock, BplusC
Project architects Paul de Ruiter & Noud Paes
Project team Richard Buijs, Marlous Vriethoff, Laura van de Pol, Wilko de Haan, Christian Quesada van Beresteyn
Construction consultant Pieters Bouwtechniek, Delft
Building services engineering Kuijpers
Structural engineering Arup, Amsterdam
Contractor De Vries en Verburg
Construction management Traject Vastgoed Advies Groep
Cost management Bouwhaven
Interior architect Paul de Ruiter architects
Photography Sónia Arrepia

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