Paul de Ruiter

Huizinga community school

Encouraging development

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The City of Amsterdam commissioned a large scale renovation of the Westelijke Tuinsteden. The new community school Huizinga, located in the Jacob Geel neighborhood, is part of this renewal. Paul de Ruiter Architects designs a vibrant school with a smart building structure wherein safety and freedom gradually merge. The design helps children to develop in a safe environment that teaches them to deal with independence.

Education, Interior, Energy producing, Healthy schools, Sunlight Usage

The design of community school Huizinga wants to offer pupils a learning environment in which they feel protected, while at the same time independent and free. The transition from security to independence goes gradually from class room to unit space, and from central hall to courtyard in the neighborhood. Every environment asks for other ingredients. The class rooms are positioned near the façade with lots of daylight and fresh air. A calm, peaceful place where children can study optimally. The central hall on the other hand is a place where children, their parents and the neighbors meet each other, a spacious, open place full of commotion.

Layered Community School

The compact school building consists of two layers which border the spacious outdoor playground. This playground is directly connected to two public squares. The junior classes and day care are situated on the ground floor, while the middle and senior classes are established on the first floor. At the ground floor the gym with changing rooms and a meeting area are located, both with their own entrance.

Both levels are composed of several layers with their own degree of safety and freedom.

The school's entrance borders the outdoor playground, below a large canopy and leads directly to the heart of the building. Parents, teachers, visitors and pupils of all ages assemble here. Education plazas, which enable children from the same age to work autonomously, adjoin this central hall. Here, the feeling of protection increases. Behind these plazas we've placed the classrooms that are known for the highest level of safety.

A contrasting façade concept

The appearance of a school building can be a determining factor for children to enjoy going to school. An education building shouldn't only feel comfortable from the inside, but should also look appealing to children from the outside. Therefore, on the ground floor we've chosen for a robust, somewhat darker brick covered with planting. On the contrary, for the first floor we decided to go for a combination of enameled glass and aluminum panels in light colors to realize a fresh appearance.

Project details


Location Nieuw-West, Amsterdam
Gross floor area 2.517 m²
Program Community school with day care, education plazas, space for the neighborhood and gym
Start design 2013
Start construction May 2015
Completion May 2016


Client Westelijke Tuinsteden foundation & the City of Amsterdam, district West
User Community school Huizinga
Project architects Paul de Ruiter & Noud Paes
Project team Marlous Vriethoff, Christian Quesada van Beresteyn, Richard Buijs, Laura van de Pol
Building management Hevo
Advisor construction Van Rossum
Advisor installations DWA
Photography Sónia Arrepia

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