It was quite a challenge; finding a good location for a school with 1400 students. After a search of years it was decided to house the Amsterdam International Community School South East (AICS), part of Esprit Scholen, in 'het Zandkasteel'. This former ING headquarters has been completely transformed and, in addition to the school, consists of housing, offices and a catering and food plaza. The 1987 building consists of ten towers, three of which are part of the educational institution.
Repurposing existing buildings presents challenges. In a building that is newly designed, space can be used in the most efficient way possible. In this former office building, the task was to match the requirements of the school as closely as possible to the three towers. Since it is not one compact building, extensive thought was given to the layout and use of space and how the functionalities relate to each other. Examples include the cramped parking garage, designed for cars from the 1980s, and the outdoor space not previously intended for young schoolchildren. The building stands out for its balance of open and closed sections and curved forms.
What is special about the process is that the original architect, Max van Huut, was once again involved in the building's repurposing! In ROmagazine, he shares "Circularity for us has always been designing a building that people love. If people love a building, it doesn't need to be demolished." He was ahead of his time, as sustainability was also considered during the construction period. For example, functional rainwater harvesting was implemented and themed and roof gardens for biodiversity help create a pleasant indoor climate. Upon completion, it was one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world! The City of Amsterdam also wanted the redevelopment project to be as sustainable and circular as possible. The starting point here was that lower charges during use could be realized through sustainable investments at the front end. For example, the building will be off the gas and connected to Vattenfall's district heating and cooling system. In addition, the glazing was replaced with HR++ glass and insulation was improved wherever possible.
The renovated building will be occupied by the Amsterdam International Community School in the 2023-2024 school year. On October 10, the VO networking event and the presentation of the SustainaBul VO will be organized here! More information about this event you will find here!