Green bricks lend woven texture to school by Areal Architecten
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Glossy green bricks lend woven texture to Belgian primary school by Areal Architecten

Glazed mint-green bricks alternate to create a basketweave pattern across the walls of this school building by Areal Architecten, which also frames a series of terraces and covered play spaces (+ slideshow).

Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten

The Antwerp studio added the block to provide extra classrooms and a multipurpose hall for an existing primary school in the Belgian town of Boom.

Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten

The small green glazed bricks cover the building's prefabricated concrete structure. Each one has a four-striped surface, and they are arranged both horizontally and vertically to create the effect of a woven pattern.

Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten

"A functional volume with a unique and recognisable design casts itself as a catalyst for [an upgrade of] the whole school environment and the neighbourhood," said the architects.

Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten

The school is set on a narrow plot, and the only available building space for the extension was the playground.

To preserve as much of this outdoor play space as possible, the architects stacked the elements one on top of the other – with the hall sandwiched on the first floor between two sets of classrooms on the ground and second levels.

Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten

Two classrooms for children aged between three and six flank a broad thoroughfare at ground level, which doubles as a covered play area.

On the upper levels, a pair of generous terraces are set alongside the hall and classrooms for older children, up to the age of 12. They are linked by an external staircase, which is revealed by cutaways in the brick facade.

Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten

"The aim was to create an open school with a generous message to the neighbourhood, and one of the important elements of the design was the search for an appropriate balance between built and open space," said the architects.

"The building gives birth to a sequence of spaces in- and outside in a continuous movement from the ground up."

Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten

"The extension does not position itself as an autonomous volume that draws a hard line with its surroundings, but forges smooth transitions from outside to inside and mediates between two playgrounds," they added.

Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten

Internally, the classrooms are finished with white cabinetry and speckled beige floor tiles.

Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten

Thomas Cols Chris Eeraerts and Barbara Morisse founded Areal Architecten in 2006, and together have designed buildings including a brick and concrete townhouse near Antwerp and a retirement home arranged about a pair of courtyards.

Photography is by Tim Van De Velde.


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Project credits:

Architecture: Areal Architecten
Client: AG Real Estate / DBFM
Structural engineering : Jo Deflander
Ir-architect 
technical studies: Gebotec
Construction: Strabag

Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten
Site plan – click for larger image
Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten
First floor plan – click for larger image
Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten
Second floor plan – click for larger image
Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten
Section one – click for larger image
Open school project in Boom by Areal Architecten
Section two - click for larger image