Rotterdam primary school celebrates successful transformation


Give donations a boost to the renovation of educational buildings that suffer from overdue maintenance? That made elementary school De Schalm at Rotterdam-Zuid enthusiatic to accelerate its growing number of pupils with its long-term maintenance budget. Kraaijvanger Architects, who wanted to give something back to the city in the context of its 90-year jubilee in 2017, took the initiative to boost the transformation of the school. The Rotterdam office set up a crowdfunding campaign and developed a strategic and integrated plan to efficiently apply the budget from the Schalm's multi-year maintenance budget.

Pupils of this so-called stage school are now making grateful use of transformed theater, renewed dance and gym and two 'Classrooms of the Future'. Stichting BOOR, and Constructif joined the construction team. OWA, Edubib, Frans van Hooijdonk and Atelier81 sponsored as well as many private individuals. A Rotterdam example of 'rolling out your sleeves' for jointly solving the structural budget deficit for maintenance of educational buildings in the Netherlands. On February 8, j.l. De Schalm celebrated the successful transformation.

"The design has become beautiful. The ground floor does much more justice to our profile and is much more representative. Moreover, the interior of the nursery classes has become contemporary and that enables us to put our concept (Learning to Make Visible) into practice. It is fantastic when social engagement is expressed in such a way. "

Pamela Tjon Appian, prinipal OBS De Schalm

Structural money shortage for maintenance education buildings
Schools in primary education spend around 300 million euros more each year on, among other things, maintenance of school buildings and teaching materials than they receive from the national government. This is shown by research by Berenschot, a management consultancy firm commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. [Source: PO Council]

A poorly functioning building has a negative influence on the concentration, health and learning performance of students. This also applies to OBS De Schalm, a growth school with a distinctive educational approach. The school is located in the district Katendrecht which has an economic rise and where everyone wants to live. All the more reason for renovating this unique school building - originally designed by Van den Broek & Bakema - in a characterful area. Kraaijvanger Architects used her knowledge in the field of education and sustainability and deployed her network to realize the transformation with minimal resources and costs.

"We wanted to give something back to the city that has been our home since 1927. An investment in the future. "

Vincent van der Meulen, Kraaijvanger Architects

Design: architectural interventions that reinforce the teaching approach
OBS De Schalm, in addition to the usual courses, focuses on performing arts to make children in a positive way strong for society. Kraaijvanger helps designers prepare themselves for the future by allowing newly graduated architects to do actual projects independently and to coach them during their mandatory Professional Experience Period (BEP) *.

  • Under supervision of Vincent van der Meulen, BEP members Eline Degenaar, Janet Snoeijen and Quirijn Petersen have made a design to transform the building in a strategic and integral manner into a challenging learning environment with respect for the original design.
  • The heart of the building is where the whole school meets. Here the mediatheque and the podium area including gymnasium have been improved and made more multifunctional so that more children can learn and perform better.
  • The entrance zone (including the awning) has been transformed. This ensures a pleasant entry into a more spacious entrance area.
  • Within the philosophy of 'the room of the future' two kindergarten rooms have been upgraded and equipped with so-called leather walls.
    Sustainable materials also ensure a healthier school. In the various rooms the lighting and acoustics have been improved.

The renovation has been realized through a crowdfunding action in combination with a budget that has been made available by BOOR.

"Growth is never by mere chance;
it is the result of forces working together."
(James Cash Penney)