Trees as a source of inspiration for a new school building

How do you design a school extension with four classrooms, a new library, an open-air theatre and a central assembly area and open-air teaching space so that it reflects the spirit of our time in every respect? In the Maasniel district of Roermond, a project inspired by the natural features of trees was developed. Rockpanel was closely involved in its implementation.

Learning and co-existing in a new world

The Coppen firm of architects opted for the symbolism of the tree to give the existing traditional school building a new look and place the focus on modern teaching methods. 

“Teaching children is no longer simply a matter of passing on factual knowledge,” says architect Hans Coppen. “It’s about exchanging ideas that make these young people enthusiastic about a new world. And it’s not the world we think we know.” He sees the tree primarily as an assembly point where meetings take place, stories are shared and ideas are exchanged. “The new central part of the building is a great example of this. It really functions as a tree to which the entire surrounding area is connected.”

Sparkling colours and a natural design bring the school to life 

If you want to introduce something new, you have to make new, smart choices. The Coppen firm of architect took up the challenge and opted for Rockpanel Woods and Rockpanel Brilliant façade boards to lend shape to their ideas. In the small wooden huts made of Rockpanel Woods, the children find quiet and security after tiring group activities. The new classrooms, clad with Rockpanel Brilliant, literally add sparkle to the tree environment, especially when the sun shines.

The boards were sawed to measure and they stand out thanks to a broad spectrum of colours, including orange, beige and various shades of green, which can also be found in the bark and the moss on the trees in the surrounding area. The overlapping edge around the windows makes the youngest children feel extra protected. And this protection can also be found in other areas, since Rockpanel boards are naturally fire-resistant, long-lasting and easy to maintain. Qualities that are, of course, greatly appreciated, certainly in a school environment like that in Maasniel.