HERVORMD LYCEUM WEST, AMSTERDAM
AN ATYPICAL SCHOOL
The Hervormd Lyceum West originally occupied a school building constructed in 1963. Owing to exponential growth of students, however, it required an additional 3,000 m2 for classrooms and other facilities. The renovation and new construction had to express the aims and aspirations of the successful school, where the mostly immigrant pupils achieve above-average grades.
Colour and light are deployed as architectural tools to communicate openness, self-awareness, optimism and a ‘desire to be seen’. The original building has been reorganized, renovated, cleaned up and ‘peeled open’, so that the introverted, private atmosphere have now made way for openness and transparency. Because of that, the building has acquired an appearance untypical of a school.
Extensive use of glass on the façade of the new volume connects inside and outside. Transparent surfaces of coloured light mark routes and destinations in the renovated and new volumes. These coloured routes have been continued through the existing building so there is virtually no difference between old and new.
Outdoor areas also relate to functions inside the building, making the gardens and schoolyards almost part of the interior. The application of surfaces of coloured light is more than symbolic; it establishes a new unity that literally transcends the differences between old and new.