building physics adviser:
DGMR Raadgevende Ingenieurs
Together with Zuidplein and the area surrounding Ahoy, the Motorstraat area forms the Heart of the South in Rotterdam. In the future, a high-quality, multifunctional urban district will be established here. The Unielocatie Zuiderpark is one of the first developments within this framework. The building houses two schools: a vmbo school for preparatory secondary vocational education (Zuiderparkcollege, LMC Secondary Education) and an mbo school for senior secondary vocational education (Zadkine). Naturally, the two schools are characterized by extremely diverse and sometimes contradictory ideals.
The strength of the design lies, however, in the collectivity of the two schools and the emphasis on shared functions. A great deal of attention is paid to the learning continuity pathway, in order to combat early school-leaving; the aim is to ‘hold on’ to students longer. The complex consists of two parts that are connected to each other by means of the ‘boulevard’, the school's display window for the city. Different work training companies and an auditorium with staff room are housed here, functions that can also be used by the neighbourhood.
From the two entrance halls at either end of the ‘boulevard’, a staircase leads up to the first floor in a wide gesture. Here the schools each have their own heart in the form of an assembly hall, connected to each other by means of the ‘practical row’. This connection provides a wide view of the practical instruction rooms and creates a dynamic link between the two schools as a result. On the second and third floors, there are mainly classrooms and ‘light’ practical training rooms. The schoolyards, which are enclosed by the building in a congenial fashion, are situated on the roof of the two assembly halls. With its volume and materialization, the new school complex represents a structuring element in its urban surroundings, seeking to fit in with the singular neighbouring buildings dating from the post-war reconstruction period, such as the Verzamelgebouw Zuid (multi-company building) and the Ikazia hospital. The detailing of the semi-prefabricated façade and the entire outer shell is nonetheless sharp and contemporary and places the building in its own context as a result.