Kraaijvanger Urbis completes the new Arte College in Almere
The Arte College offers vocational and pre-university education to students with a special interest in arts and culture, offering a safe theory and practice orientated learning environment. The main theme of the school's curriculum is 'theatre'. This has been spatial translated in the design: class rooms are grouped around the central auditorium, which also acts as a theatre. This space forms the very heart of the school, where students bring their theory into practice.
A ‘free' education concept has been implemented. Traditional class rooms are replaced by clearly laid out large open learning areas for practical training. The spatial configuration of the open learning areas are well thought over and offer a range of possibilities to model the schools curriculum. All functions are closely linked, spaces are fully utilised and circulation movements are short. Theatre supporting spaces - such as sound and dance studios - are centrally situated, and can be reached from all educational areas. The theater, the café and several educational areas can be unlocked independently to facilitate additional program and performances outside school hours.
The expression of the Arte College is recognisable and friendly - rather timeless, than fashionable. Through the large windows activities are clearly visible. The façade consists of open and closed pendants, alternating per floor, resembling moving theater sets. Various theatre elements are visible throughout the school. Reds - so characteristic for the theatre - are used everywhere. The use of wood not only gives the school a warm appearance, but also acts as an acoustic buffer in the auditorium.
The outside space of the Arte College is integral part of the design. With minimal recourses the building has been carefully integrated in the urban setting: the sunken bicycle parking, seating elements bordering the recreation-ground and a grand stand created in front of the entrance, carrying through the theater feel to the outside.