Elementary School 't Groen Drieske

Elementary School 't Groen Drieske

Architecten Delobelle bvba

An architectural paragon of energy-efficiency and sustainability, this Ghent new build nursery and after-school child care service blends with the existing site and school building, while at the same time distinguishing itself with a vibrant and creative use of colour. Designed by Delobelle Architects in collaboration with the Building Projects Department of the Ghent local authority, the project meets and exceeds Ghent’s strict administrative guidelines with respect to energy-efficiency and public safety.

Focus on people, site and the environment

With a focus on people, site and the environment, children from the local area benefit from a building that is not only environmentally friendly, but additionally provides a positive spatial and psychological environment in support of their development and education. Architecturally, a multi-purpose playroom plays a key role in the design with a colourful aluminium curtain wall and a large floating canopy covering part of the play area. This helps in creating a transition between the existing school building, the playground at the heart of the project and the new building, thus enhancing the complex as a whole.

By positioning this multi-purpose room at an angle to the new school building, architect Robby Delobelle and his team further created a semi-pubic forecourt which did not exist previously. This strategy offers more security and convenience for the the children and their parents and further reinforces the visual impact of the aluminium curtain wall with its vibrant coloured panels.

Inverted aluminium curtain wall

Certainly, the most striking architectural feature of the design is the colourful aluminium curtain wall with its horizontal window profiles. As a feature, it makes the school an instantly recognizable and a prominent presence in the neighbourhood. Delobelle architects explain they opted for horizontal profile lines to best blend with the surroundings and furthermore achieve a scale that is comprehensible for children. A vertical structure by contrast would have placed too much emphasis on the height of the building, the architects explain.

Environmental Principles

Thanks to the completely airtight installation of the aluminium curtain wall - which rules out thermal bridges - and the thorough insulation of the Reynaers CW 50-HI system, this building has reached an E-level of 68 and a K-level of 28. This brings the project completely in line with the rigorous energy requirements of the Ghent local authority.

 

In order to guarantee the architectural strength of the design, the technical studies department of Reynaers Aluminium and the aluminium fabricator De Paepe faced the challenge of fitting the curtain wall profiles horizontally for this project. In other words, fitting the profiles on their side, whereas traditionally they would be installed vertically. In addition to this complex and unconventional installation, the standard vertical drainage systems also had to be adapted to the horizontal orientation. The resulting so-called 'inverted curtain wall' by Reynaers Aluminium is therefore innovative from both the architectural and the technical point of view.

Architects: 
Architecten Delobelle bvba
Location: 
Gentbrugge, Belgium View on map
Photographer: 
Debbie De Brauwer