Aeres is the only green educational institution in the Netherlands that offers education, practice-oriented research and knowledge-intensive services at all levels, from degree programmes to continuing education for professionals. In Velp, Aeres now houses a pre-vocational (VMBO) and vocational (MBO) education programme in the fields of nature, technology and design. Between 2014 and 2017, Wiegerinck guided the school’s transformation, creating an open and approachable unit where students feel seen and at home.
There were three buildings on the school site: the school, a free-standing greenhouse and a free-standing gymnasium. The school building itself was a series of outdated building components from different periods. The building had to accommodate not only vocational students, but pre-vocational students as well. On top of that, the school was located in a rather congested area. It was time to create more space, openness and renewal through a combination of renovation and new construction.
In the first phase, a dilapidated house and old car garage were demolished to create a green front area, which made the school visible from the road. With a two-storey extension, the ground floor was connected to the free-standing gymnasium by means of a new entrance area. New classrooms were built on the first floor and on top of the gymnasium’s locker rooms.
In the second phase, the first extension was connected to the renovated old building, creating a covered patio in the center to provide additional space for students. From the road, this new section forms the new face of the school. It also includes offices and an additional practical classroom for labs and activities.
The façade is vertically articulated, with floor-to-ceiling windows set in recesses. The high windows provide views to both the street and the sky, offering a human scale and allowing daylight to penetrate deep into the classrooms. Thanks to the large “shop windows” on the ground floor, passers-by can observe the educational activities going on inside and students can also display their work and talent. Using a combination of white Limburg brick and frames in sustainable Accoya wood, we’ve created a timeless façade that radiates freshness and discipline and naturally unites classic and modern.
The pre-vocational and vocational programmes each have their own entrances, but both areas border a central meeting area where students can gather. There, they will find plenty of seating, as well as a separate kiosk, made of
The free-standing greenhouse was expanded to create a cohesive practical unit by creating storage areas on one side and a series of classrooms on the other. After their lessons, students can head straight to the greenhouse, the adjacent garden or animal centre to put theory into practice.