How to fit a large building into the child’s world?
The De Zuiderkroon children’s centre was built as part of the Midden-Groningen school programme. The starting point was to realise safe and future-proof educational facilities in an area affected by earthquakes and land shrinkage. The children’s centre is located on the edge of the leafy urban village of Woldwijck and fits in with the green character of the area.
Inclusiveness and multifunctionality are central to the design. The De Zuiderkroon children’s centre connects a state primary school and a primary school for special education. A nursery is also included. All the spaces are linked by a central heart, into which light pours in through skylights. The 450 students are taught in high-ceilinged, bright classrooms and have their own kitchen for practical education. In addition, they have access to a technology room and two connected, ultra-modern gymnasiums.
An important design assignment was to model the location’s large programme of approximately 5,100 m² in such a way that it is perceived as attractive and more compact. Because the building volume is stepped in height and staggered in length and width, it is more in line with a child’s experience level. This creates all kinds of places, corners and spaces in and around the building where students can come together.
Zuiderkroon matches the green character of the area
The different levels are clearly visible. The bottom level has a concrete finish that makes the structure apparent. This gives the building a rugged character. The top layer is finished with handmade tiles designed in collaboration with ceramic factory Koninklijke Tichelaar. Green and blue pigments are incorporated into the tiles. Because they are glazed, they reflect the sky and surrounding trees and this combination of different types of green result in an attractive appearance in any weather.
In the design of the interior spaces, much attention has been paid to the transition between inside and outside. By means of large glass frames with doors, there is plenty of contact with the outdoors. A pergola forms the transition between the inside and the outside, so that lessons can also be given outdoors.
Careful consideration has been given to the high-quality acoustics and finishes inside. All the interior façades, stairs and ceilings are made of materials with a natural look and feel. Many different places in the interior have been designed to match the child’s scale and functionality. Rooms differ from low to high and from narrow to wide.
February 2022 marked the final completion of the new Children's Center ''De Zuiderkroon'' designed by De Zwarte Hond. Inclusiveness and multifunctionality are central to the design. The children’s centre connects a state primary school with a primary school for special education. A nursery is also included. All the spaces are linked by a central heart, where light pours in through skylights. The 450 students are taught in high-ceilinged, bright classrooms and have their own kitchen for practical education. In addition, they have access to a technology room and two connected, ultra-modern gymnasiums. Despite its large size (5,100 m2), the building is perceived by the users as small-scale. This is because the building volume is fragmented to fit into the child’s world. The façade is divided into two layers. The bottom layer is finished with rugged concrete. The top layer is finished with handmade green-blue tiles that were designed in collaboration with Koninklijke Tichelaar and refer to the surrounding treetops. In the design of the interior spaces, a connection with the environment has also been sought. The indoor space is directly connected to a pergola and the outdoor space by means of large sliding glass doors, meaning that lessons can take place outside as well as inside.
- Kindcentrum Zuiderkroon
- Hoogezand, NL
- 5.100 m²
- Gemeente Midden-Groningen
- Eva Bloem
- Architectenweb Awards
Schoolbuilding of the year
- Architectenweb Awards
- More info