On Friday November 6, the renovated iPabo University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam officially opened. Mecanoo designed the comprehensive building overhaul where students are trained to become teachers in primary education.
Renovation of the school coincided with iPabo’s quest for a new identity to express their independence. Mecanoo worked with the board of iPabo to realise inspirational, transparent environments where there is space to meet in a building that is part renovation, part new build.
The building is designed according to the principle of a learning landscape and the emphasis is on the integration of three different zones: knowledge-sharing in classes and project rooms; enhanced concentration in offices and quiet areas; and social interactions in the entrance hall, restaurant and atrium.
The atmosphere is warm, comfortable and inviting – people are connected with each other and their surroundings. The renovated building encourages planned and spontaneous meetings amongst users. It surprises, but it is also transparent and feels safe. The entrance hall offers views of the three-storey central atrium which connects two building wings, creating circulation routes in place of previously dead-end passageways. An auditorium and restaurant are located on the ground floor of the atrium. Freely cantilevered above are the library and study areas.
The facade consists of vertical wooden slats mounted on a black surface, providing an interesting visual unity between existing and new build parts. Combining renovation and new build gives iPabo a clear identity, befitting a college that educates the teachers of tomorrow.