Construction begins on Gilde Vakcollege in Gorinchem

Construction has started on the Gilde Vakcollege, the largest VMBO technical college in the Netherlands. The current building is very outdated and the school is moving to the Innovation Campus on the outskirts of Gorinchem. The new building for the Gilde Vakcollege is open and inviting, with great attention to craft through the use of natural materials, and acts as the catalyst for the new campus. The Gilde is unique in its combination of technical education and business through WeTech.

The design of the new building reflects both the future technical working environment and a safe and secure learning environment. The building integrates naturally into the campus structure through three offset volumes that give it a human dimension. All the practical rooms are on the ground floor and have large doors opening on the campus verandas. Inside, the various practical spaces – for car assembly, installation technology, welding and bricklaying – are clearly visible and located on a ‘central street’, the heart of the school. It is a busy atmosphere, reminiscent of a factory, but also homely.

The building itself is also a learning object, with installations and construction visible and brickwork patterns in the façades to inspire the budding bricklayer. On the first floor are the theoretical classrooms and learning spaces, which have a strong relationship with the practical training spaces on the ground floor through voids. This visual link between theory and practice was lacking in the old building and was one of the school’s main requirements or the new building.

The use of natural materials, including wood, creates a friendly and healthy building. The three sawtooth roofs, covered with PV panels, make the building energy neutral and provide plenty of daylight to the inner street. The sawtooth roofs give the building an industrial look, referring to the rugged places where the students will later work.

De Zwarte Hond is responsible for the design of the Gilde Vakcollege, commissioned by Stichting Christelijk Voortzet Onderwijs Alblasserwaard-Vijfheerenlanden and HEVO for consultancy and project management. Other parties involved are Burgland Bouw (contractor), Klictet (installation consultancy), H4D (construction) and DGMR (building physics), BINK (electrical installations), Klimaatservice Holland (climate installations) and BBC (building management).