Xaverius College kindergarten Borgerhout
Kindergarten with 11 classes and gymnasium
In order to tackle the growing shortage of space in the school, the Xaverius College purchased a number of adjoining buildings in the neighbourhood. The end result was a patchwork of lots that, as an ensemble, formed an inner area without structure or direction. The buildings were in a dilapidated state and therefore demolished. This opened up the possibility of structuring the irregular inner area with a single architectural volume.
META designed an L-shaped volume that extends from the Stenenbrug to the Xaveriusstraat. To prevent toddlers from having to climb unnecessary stairs, the volume has one level, with the exception of the ‘head’ at the Stenenbrug and a double-height multipurpose hall.
The main entrance to the playground and kindergarten is located on Xaveriusstraat, where a school gate is camouflaged to resemble the other domestic facades in the street. This was constructed of concrete poured in situ.
Since the Stenenbrug entrance is on a busy link road, it will only be used as secondary access. A third entrance to the playground and kindergarten is located on the J. Posenaerstraat. This entrance is mainly intended as access for supplies and personnel.
The L-shaped volume of the kindergarten is accessed by a similarly shaped corridor. This latter is the lifeline of the building and is conceived as a covered walkway that connects all of the spaces. On one side, it is flanked by a service zone with supporting functions, such as a cloakroom, toilet facilities and storage rooms. These are clustered around pairs of classrooms. On the other side, the corridor opens onto a number of inner gardens. This also means that the corridor is filled with natural light.
In order to increase the recognisability of the school within the streetscape, it was decided to locate the gym in the ‘head’ volume on the Stenenbrug. The first floor houses 2 further classrooms for the third-year kindergarten pupils, while the administration facilities and the teachers’ staff room are located on the second floor. A wide, progressive staircase connects the floors.
The facade boasts a rational and regular structure that follows the functional parts of the building and renders them visible in the facade. The ground floor facade is entirely constructed in concrete, surmounted by masonry walls that are finished with horizontal concrete elements.