First Open-Air School for the Healthy Child

The restoration of the Open-Air School by Jan Duiker in Amsterdam was completed last year. This adds another icon of Dutch Functionalism to the list of structures — Zonnestraal sanatorium, the Van Nelle Factory and the Glass Palace department store — that have been spruced up and prepared for the future.
The first two of those have recently been put on the list of candidates for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Wessel de Jonge, who was also involved in the restoration of the Van Nelle Factory and Zonnestraal, carried out the restoration of the Open-Air School.

This building by Jan Duiker from 1930 is considered a textbook example of ‘Dutch Functionalism’. The school was founded on the belief that healthy children also benefit from outdoor lessons. The complex included a gateway building from 1932 that provides access to the site. It has enjoyed the status of national monument since 1985. Various alterations have been carried out of the years. In 1955 the architect Auke Komter, who had worked for Duiker, carefully renovated the buildings.

In recent years the school no longer met modern-day requirements with regard to education, interior climate, ventilation and comfort. It also suffered from a lack of maintenance and from structural defects. Moreover, there was a wish to reveal the monumental qualities of the school once again as far as possible, including the interior. The task was to restore the building structurally and improve the interior climate within the limited financial means. That prompted the decision to restore the exterior to its condition after the renovation by Komter in 1955 and base the interior renovation on the original ideas of Duiker.

A number of programmatic scenarios for possible new arrangements of functions were drawn up to solve the problem of a lack of space for facilities such as a multimedia centre and individual study areas. It was decided to relocate the crèche and offer craft lessons in the classrooms themselves. This created space on the ground floor for a multimedia centre, a meeting room, a staff room and an office, which were previously all located in one former classroom. Space for study areas was created by building a transparent glazed study volume in the outdoor classrooms, almost invisible from the school playground.

The renovation project involved fitting the glass facades with a thin layer of double-glazing that works with a modernised heating system to create comfortable conditions in winter. The interior climate has been improved in line with the so-called ‘Fresh School’ standards thanks to the addition of a balanced mechanical ventilation system with a heat recovery system.

The restoration also included repairs to the concrete, the total renewal of the toilet facilities, and the replacement of almost all interior finishes, whereby the historical finishes and colours were for the most part restored. In addition, all classrooms are fitted with state-of-the-art data technology and digital blackboards.

Jan Duiker/ Wessel de Jonge architecten bna bv

project adress
Cliostraat 40, Amsterdam

educational facility

Board of management of the First Open-Air School for the Healthy Child

Restauratie van het rijksmonument inclusief aanpassingen welke voldoen aan de eisen gesteld door de norm Frisse Scholen, met in acht neming van de monumentale kwaliteiten van het gebouwdatum

1st sketch:
ca. February 2009

start of construction
February 2010

December 2010

extent of involvement in process:
Structuurontwerp t/m Oplevering

1328 m2 BVO

4380 m3

cost of construction
|3.200.000,- inclusief. BTW

proud of:
Compliance with current requirements in terms of education and comfort so that the complex can continue as a school, while displaying the architecture of Duiker to advantage.

do differently next time
Make better use of the potential of the roofs through fewer installations and a green layout.