Noorderpoort Vocational Training College

Stadskanaal, Netherlands

Architecture, Educational

Size: 8,500 m2
Status: Completed
Project Design: 2011
Project Realisation: 2011 - 2014
Address: Sportparklaan, Stadskanaal, the Netherlands
Client: ROC Noorderpoort, Groningen, the Netherlands

Programme: (V)MBO school (Intermediate Vocational Training) 8,500 m², including layout of grounds with front garden and water areas, wooden path, lower-level bicycle park and spacious entrance courtyard.

Noorderpoort Vocational Training College is exemplary for its collaboration between education and business. Multiple organisations participated in this complex for a modern, learning environment that unites theory and practice. The collaborating parties include housing association Lefier, construction training and support organisations SSPB and IW Noord, and precision manufacturing company Witec. The design facilitates the users’ needs with a school building that challenges, inspires and, above all, excels regarding safety and sustainability.

Noorderpoort is designed from the inside out, with an atrium as the main meeting hub and connection with the rest of the school. Transparent window cases offer a peek into the various departments, each of which has its own identity. The transparent and open interior provides good legibility, allowing students to feel at ease.

All organisations and sports fields have their own entrance. The canteen’s spacious roof terrace overlooks the sports fields and school plaza, which contributes to the school’s sense of safety. 
The school has an inviting yet distinctive appearance with a wide canopy that indicates the main entrance and entry plaza. The building nestles in its green surroundings with a natural water landscape as its front garden, which offers students a welcome respite between classes.

The facade features a play of staggered volumes, each clad with either a timber skin or slats, and glass. Noorderpoort achieves a BREEAM Very Good certification; the first school in The Netherlands to do so. The application of measures such as a geothermal heat pump, sustainable materials, healthy indoor environment quality and high degree of flexibility contribute to this certification. 

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