Bielefeld. In the Dutch city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Utrecht-based architectural practice Nieuwe Architecten created a striking newbuild for the Koning Willem I College. The compact five-storey design demonstrates impressive flexibility and sustainably implemented circularity.
The transparent mullion/transom façade constructed using the Schüco FWS 50 (Façade Window System) system is a particularly stunning feature of the building, permitting free views of the imposing timber load-bearing structure. The external Schüco CSB (Concealed Shaped Blind) sun shading, which is integrated into the façade system, blends in seamlessly with the architectural concept and enables the heat gain to be significantly reduced.
The Koning Willem I College in ‘s-Hertogenbosch is one of the largest vocational education complexes in the Dutch province of Brabant. In order to better adapt the quality of the education there to current digital requirements and to also make these high standards outwardly visible, the establishment recently added a modern newbuild to its location on Onderwijsboulevard, which predominantly dates back to the 1980s. The newbuild features generous glazing, offers 5000 m2 of space and provides flexible-use teaching rooms for the technical faculty based there.
Architectural practice Nieuwe Architecten was commissioned with the planning of the project on the basis of a previous tender they submitted in the summer of 2017. In keeping with the client’s wish for a modern and adaptable newbuild with sustainable materials, a compact volume was created with five floors and an additional roof storey which, with its unusual design, functions as a prestigious landmark on the campus in the direction of Onderwijsboulevard to the east.
Implemented using the Schüco FWS 50 system, the slimline mullion/transom façade is a striking feature of the architecture, leaving the timber load-bearing structure and bright blue staircase on show. The envelope consists of 2 x 3.60 metre fields each with 32 mm thick triple glazing. For psychological reasons, some of these fields are fitted with manually opening ventilation vents: “The construction provides maximum transparency while also highlighting the issue of sustainability and the high quality of the technical education there,” explains project architect Roderik van der Meulen. On the mezzanine level facing the forecourt, the glass envelope is set right back behind the load-bearing structure, thereby creating an open arcade in the entrance area. The building also gains additional dynamism due to the fact that the lower edge of the forward-mounted glass membrane above the ground floor tapers upwards at different angles.
The airy design of the interior is equally impressive, with its flowing transition from conventional classrooms into open-plan learning landscapes: “The existing 8 x 8 m grid throughout the building makes it possible to flexibly adapt the 4 metre-high storeys to current requirements at any time,” explains Roderik van der Meulen, who developed the concept partially in collaboration with the students. To connect the newbuild to the existing building, the planners also added a slim linking block and a three storey-high atrium with a pleated façade and airy sawtooth roof construction, in order to provide easy access to the other buildings on site and to create a space for special events: “The precisely calculated angles of the roof construction ensure that the perfect amount of natural light enters the building and that the 1000 integrated solar modules are in the best position for exposure to the sun,” explains Gijs Verhulst, Project Manager at the general contractor Berghege Heerkens bouwgroep. The link to the outside is further strengthened by an open roof terrace on the main building and a newly created forecourt in the direction of Onderwijsboulevard.
Highly sustainable thanks to circular construction
In order to ensure a high degree of sustainability, the building – which has since been awarded the Dutch National Award for Timber Construction (Nationale Houtbouwprijs) – was built in line with the principles of circular construction using as many recyclable materials as possible. The mighty load-bearing structure, with its diagonal beams that are visible from the outside, plays a key role here. Around 700 cubic metres of timber primarily from local stock were used for the construction. This corresponds to a saving of 435 tonnes of carbon: “95% of the additional steel plates and steel joints that were required are concealed in the timber construction and therefore cannot be seen,” explains Roderik van der Meulen. The partially prefabricated hollow concrete floors were also combined with the main timber beams in an innovative hybrid construction.
In addition, the energy consumption of the building was optimised by the 960 m2 green roof, the solar panels integrated in the roof, the use of air source heat pumps, and hybrid climate ceilings which, alongside lighting, also improve acoustics, supply air and support the air conditioning of the interior through concrete core activation. In this connection it was essential that, for educational reasons, all of the building services were positioned in a central location with a large glass front: “The students can read off the current power consumption, the performance of the solar panels and other parameters from special screens here at all times,” comments Roderik van der Meulen.
External sun shading from Schüco
Blending in seamlessly with the architecture of the building thanks to its slimline louvre blade design, the external Schüco CSB sun shading system also plays an important role in the climate concept of the newbuild. This automatically-operated system is fully integrated in the Schüco FWS 50 façade system above the ground floor and therefore does not require any sun shading headboxes.
“The decision to opt for external sun shading allowed the façade design to be largely transparent and the internal timber construction to remain visible for the surrounding environment,” explains Roderik van der Meulen. “Based on the client’s desire for a robust, tried-and-tested system with a pared-back appearance that allows the construction to take centre stage and that can be integrated into the façade, we soon discovered the CSB system from Schüco, which is the only integrated system on the market. That being said, it was particularly important that we could examine the system in a test configuration and adjust the overall height and depth of the system to the dimensions of the intermediate floors.”
One key benefit of the Schüco CSB system is its complete shading from direct sunlight when the angle of the sun is greater than 21 degrees: “On sunny days, this means that the thermal transmittance is significantly reduced and a considerable amount of energy is saved,” says Roderick van der Meulen. The high level of transparency of 23% also means the link to the outside is retained even when the blind is completely closed. Furthermore, the stable, extruded, horizontal louvre blades made from aluminium can withstand extremely high wind loads and automatically retract when wind speeds reach 25 metres per second.
In keeping with the façade grid size, sun shading units measuring 4000 mm high by 2000 mm wide were used. To allow different architectural concepts to be implemented, the Schüco CSB system is also available in six different permanently weather-resistant anodised colours: “In our case, we opted for an uncoated version of the louvre blades to achieve a solution that would be as flexible as possible in the event of re-use and to implement the building’s principles of circularity in the best possible way,” explains Roderik van der Meulen. “The pared-back materiality also produces a pleasing contrast with the visible load-bearing structure made from timber, resulting in a vibrant façade appearance.” In carefully configured interaction with the other building management systems, an energy-neutral, yet highly functional and extremely readable building has been created that can respond flexibly to any changes that may occur in the future.
Cover image – Photographer: Bart van Hoek Architectuurfotografie, courtesy of Schüco International KG
Project: Koning Willem I College
Location: Onderwijsboulevard 3, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NL)
Client: Koning Willem I College, ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Architect: Nieuwe Architecten, Utrecht
Main contractor: Berghege Heerkens bouwgroep, Tilburg (NL)
Metal fabricator: Van Hoesel, Goirle (NL)
Floor area: Newbuild – 6500 m²; renovation – 2100 m²
Completion date: 2021
Schüco FWS 50 façade system
Schüco CSB (Concealed Shaped Blind) sun shading system
Schüco – System solutions for windows, doors and façades
Based in Bielefeld, the Schüco Group develops and sells system solutions for windows, doors and façades. With 6330 employees worldwide, the company strives to be the industry leader in terms of technology and service both now and in the future. In addition to innovative products for residential and commercial buildings, the building envelope specialist offers consultation and digital solutions for all phases of a building project – from the initial idea through to design, fabrication and installation. Schüco works with 10,000 fabricators and 30,000 architectural practices, as well as construction professionals who commission buildings around the world. Founded in 1951, the company is now active in more than 80 countries and achieved a turnover of 1.995 billion euros in 2021. For more information, visit www.schueco.com