In the new knowledge economy, education is increasingly being considered a part of everyday life. Instead of spatially isolating educational functions, there is more demand for social activity and integration into the urban context.
The design of a community college entails designing a multifunctional and sustainable programme that will transform the school building into a new kind of urban function in which the immediate community is closely involved. What makes the MBO College Noord unique is its combination of two schools in a single building: the Bredero MAVO (pre-vocational secondary education) and the ROC van Amsterdam (ROCvA, a regional training centre providing senior secondary vocational education).
The MBO College Noord is located at an urbanly complex and highly challenging site in the ‘new’ city centre of Amsterdam Noord (known as the CAN area) and adjoins and is partially under the elevated station of the Noord-Zuid (north-south) metro line.
A major focus of the school’s educational concept is ‘the school building as career centre’. To increase the rate at which pupils in pre-vocational secondary education transfer on to senior secondary vocational education, both schools are only partially separated and visually connected by means of a double helix shape as a circulation model.
A perception of the educational complex as being small-scaled is achieved by dividing it into four separate buildings, each with its own expressive quality and within which the Bredero College and the ROCvA have their own entrances. The academic programme is provided on the ground and first floors.
As a three-dimensional passage, the design achieves two goals: each main user has its own street address and can simultaneously make use of the interior’s shared facilities such as a restaurant, a multimedia centre, a library, multifunctional gyms and other support functions.