A sheltered school building
that opens up to the neighborhood
VMBO Veurs, Voorburg
Veurs is a small-scale secondary school for VMBO-level education which caters to approximately 400 students. In mid-2022, the school moved to a building in the post-war residential area Voorburg 't Loo, on the outskirts of The Hague. The new school complex has a clear, compact shape and a facade of traditional brickwork which matches the surrounding buildings. However, what makes it special is that the school also visually and socially engages with its surroundings.
The school opens up to the neighbourhood and its residents - and this is a conscious choice: by showing what the VMBO has to offer to both students and society, we want to counter the image surrounding this type of school. On the ground floor there are practical classrooms, but also a teaching restaurant with a visible kitchen, and a 'training shop' for people from the neighbourhood, with the aim of showing - both visually and actually - what VMBO education entails.
The building is characterised by openness, but also provides a sense of security; our aim was to design a school that feels like a home rather than a utilitarian, minimal building block. This makes the students proud of their building - and therefore more considerate of their surroundings. It also sends a clear message: VMBO students are worth investing in.
The restaurant and shop have their own entrance. The main entrance for students is located in a shielded setback on the lateral side of building, and leads directly to the central hall, the heart of the school. This hall is where students meet, a generous space that opens to its full, three storey height above the grandstand staircase. This staircase is the hub of the school’s social life, and makes it possible to use the hall for performances and school plays.
From the hall, the different sections fan out through the building, clustered around wide corridors which are ideal for studying together. The theory classrooms, which are shared by all sections, are located centrally in the building. Initially, the school management was somewhat hesitant about the transparent design interior, but this has turned out to have a positive effect. Everyone feels seen, and therefore takes each other into account. The building has a flexible layout which allows for future adaptations, while its compact design makes it particularly energy-efficient.
The new school, partly due to its careful social, architectural and spatial integration, has given the neighbourhood and the pupils a positive impulse. A VMBO which deserves to be seen!
ClientStichting Scholengroep Spinoza