RoosRos designs ROC Mondriaan as a generic building for a specific use

The ROC Mondriaan in The Hague needs a new education building, but during the architect selection it was not yet clear which educations would move into it. RoosRos Architecten won the award with a particularly flexible design for a generic building that makes it possible to respond to future developments in training or education.

ROC Mondriaan has been using an emergency building for a long time, while the number of pupils is growing. The educational institute wants to realize a new building close to its current location on Aspasialaan. ROC wants a flexible, usable and sustainably built professional campus where users feel comfortable. The building must therefore be bright and inviting and offer a diversity of learning and workplaces.

During the selection of the architect, there was not yet a program of requirements; it was also not yet clear which schools within the ROC would use the new building. This required a generic building which could be given a specific interpretation at a later stage. The flexible design of RoosRos allows for growth, shrinkage and changes in courses or changes in education.

Separate layers
The generic structure supports a freely divisible ground plan and at the same time forms a recognizable basis in the appearance of both the interior and the exterior. RoosRos has separated the various layers, such as the skeleton, the (removable) facade, installations, interior walls and fixtures, as far as possible from each other.

In this way, the different layers do not hinder each other in future adjustments. Furthermore, this provides an efficient and sustainable solution in light of the differences in the lifetime of the different layers. This layering is also reflected in the facade, says RoosRos.

The main structure forms the foundation and reinforces the verticality of the four-story building. Within the main structure, different interpretations ensure diversity in the composition.

Because the main structure and infill do not lie in the same plane, the facade gains depth and a play of light and shadow is created. The various fillings are repeated around the building. There are alternating open and closed surfaces, infills with greenery and Brazilian brickwork.

Can be customized
The structure is also reflected in the floor plan, explains the architectural firm. The building is designed on a grid of units, ‘units’. One unit is a theory room, half a unit is a classroom or office and a practice room or computer room can be accommodated in one and a half to two units.

The installations are laid out on the grid of half a unit. As a result, places can be increased or reduced per half unit without major intervention.

With a view to the well-being of the users, RoosRos has placed great emphasis on light, air and greenery in and around the building. In the design, the classrooms are located on the outside of the building so that daylight falls optimally into these areas. Thanks to the many skylights, an inner garden and a green courtyard and a central atrium, daylight also reaches the heart of the building.

At the heart of the building is a tribune room, a courtyard, an inner garden and several terraces with workplaces. Together with the spacious main staircase, these terraces form a sculptural object that fills the space: a wooden volume that runs through the building and connects all floors and passages. The object continues through the canteen and grandstand stairs to the schoolyard, which also connects inside and outside.

The design also includes nest boxes and insect stones in the facade. The square will have a diverse ecosystem, says RoosRos. In this way, insects, birds and bats get a place on or near the building.

The design for the education building was created in co-creation, the architectural firm and the ROC report. The process was supervised by RoosRos and project manager Synarchis.

Workshops were arranged at different levels, where teachers and other staff could contribute ideas on topics such as desired atmosphere, use of color and coherence of floors. “It ensures that we could get even more out of the building and that teachers and staff are not already thinking about the first adjustment upon completion,” says project architect Nathalie Rabouille from RoosRos.

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