Situated on the valuable and fragile south-west corner of Park Presikhaaf, the new campus complex for Arentheem College forms a unity with the green landscape. Three schools are connected by a second surface level whilst retaining their unique feel and identity. This is all achieved in a single building, although student flows do not meet.
Urban development principles and the limited space available gave rise to the second surface level. Above this ‘plinth’ the theory landscapes are contained in separate volumes. Under this second surface level are all the practical areas and the so-called service strip, which accommodates all the utility functions such as parking, stockroom, waste processing and bicycle sheds. The second surface level is predominantly green and features daylight openings. In this landscape the entrance courtyards and the various outside areas are located in between the different volumes. This preserves the required transparency from the city side.
The entire edifice is sunken one and a half metres into the surrounding watercourse, making it look lower. On the park side the second surface level rises from the water as a green embankment, giving the building the impression of being a natural continuation of the park. Through the scaling down of the different volumes on the second surface level, the greenspace layout and the sunken construction, the campus is no longer an obstacle in the park but rather an integrated part of the landscape. Three bridges with an ample flight of steps form the access points to the second surface level.
The most transparent façade possible was chosen to show the city how pleasant and useful this type of instruction can be. The sunken location allows for a far view from the street level, allowing the instruction to present itself optimally to the outside world.