Frederic Vandoninck Wouter Willems architects in association with MikeViktorViktor architects designed the Zonnebloem primary school in Genneken, a small hamlet that forms part of the district of Lummen. The building lies in the midst of an amorphous fabric: detached houses, residential estates, a single small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) and, on the other side of the street, a piece of waste pasture land.
The new building accepts this existing situation, but counters it with robust solidity. As a site, the school is bounded by the classroom wing that creates a street frontage on one side, and by a half-sunken sports hall that continues under the classroom block on the other. The various parts of the new building are thus combined to form an articulated whole. The orange brick that envelops the school building, both literally and figuratively, unites the component parts. Both the school wall and the building itself are constructed out of this same material, as is the parapet on the raised playground and the retaining wall for the emergency stairs that plunge into the ground. At the level of the window uprights, there is a brief interruption to the pattern of the façade and its standardised modules. The variations in the areas of window and brick mitigate the uniformity that is imposed by the colour.
This text is based on an article by Maarten Van Den Driessche, published in Flanders Architectural Review N°12: Tailored Architecture.