Hemsterhuisstraat, Amsterdam-West


Renovation and new construction school for secondary education


Stichting Cedergroep, Amsterdam


BNA Best Building of the Year (2007)
Nomination Prize for school buildings (2006) 


Hervormd Lyceum West was located in a somewhat outdated school building from 1963, designed by the architect Frans ten Tex. Due to the increasing number of students, the school needed about 3,000 m2 of additional classrooms and facilities. The existing building required partial renovation. The (re)construction had to embody the intentions and beliefs of this successful school, where predominantly immigrant students achieve above-average academic results.

To facilitate a logical expansion, the highest part of the old building underwent significant reorganization. The floor of the old gymnasium (above the bicycle storage) was removed, creating a majestic auditorium, the new heart of the school, in high demand. The library was relocated to the upper floors. The spacious and bright entrance hall provides access to both the old and new wings of classrooms. Two new gymnasiums were stacked on the easternmost part of the location, facing the busy Johan Huizingalaan.

Color and light were employed as architectural elements to express the themes of openness, self-awareness, optimism, and the desire to be ‘seen.’ The original building was organized, renovated, opened up, and ‘peeled.’ The inward-looking atmosphere was replaced by openness and transparency. The use of glass, light, and color in the facade of the new construction created a strong connection between the interior and exterior. The gardens and squares almost became part of the interior. Transparent colored light planes mark the routes and spaces in the renovated and new sections. This concept was extended to the ‘old building,’ creating a strong relationship between the renovated part and the new construction.

hervormd lyceum west link_bringing the light outside
hervormd lyceum west link_bna gebouw van het jaar