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New for old, old for new: Marecollege by 24 H Architecture.

Photo credits: Boris Zeisser.

Marecollege is a venerable secondary school with some 450 pupils, in Leiden, Holland. When it had to move to new premises, it commissioned 24H Architecture to convert and extend an existing, run-down 1960s school building into something more in keeping with its requirements and aspirations moving forward.

Externally, a new entrance was created in a building whose form is a lemniscate, something like a lacerated helmet. Set within a landscaped square against a façade of projecting timber fins, a strong sculptural composition is created.

If it is the rich texture of the material treatment that enlivens this building, it is the controlled colour palate that gives it gravity. The entrance is clad in natural slate shingles which have a high degree of mottling, an indicator of iron content in the forming rock. The timber fenestration and façade treatment resonates with the brown and grey slate colours, producing an effect reminiscent of a Cambridge college, albeit with a lighter touch.

Internally the rich finishes are continued but with more colour. They establish circulation patterns through the building .

Completing the impression of an old school, bang up to date, or a new school appearing much older, will be façades hosting Virginia Creepers, a type of ivy. It changes colour with the seasons and looses its leaves during winter. The ivy will be allowed to partially grow over the windows providing some shade in summer when it is most needed.

Gratitude to AECCafe.

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