Transformation School

Within the existing built environment there are many places and spaces that do not meet the current requirements and are no longer fit for the function for which they were once built. Nevertheless they offer opportunities for new functions such as the creation of unique homes. For a group of young families, eklund_terbeek has transformed an early 20th century school building, situated within a large building block in Rotterdam West, into six apartments. It is the first project within the so called “klushuizenprogramma” where the City of Rotterdam has sold a larger dilapidated property directly to a group of private individuals in order to renovate and transform into homes. The building is part of an ensemble of three former schools and the intermediate schoolyards will be transformed into a series of communal gardens.


Eklund_terbeek architects were responsible for the renovation and transformation of the building as a whole and designed one apartment in detail. Together with the client, the program requirements were determined and the building was divided between the different households. A common framework was designed within which every inhabitant could realize their own custom made dream home. One of the main challenges was to create apartments which comply with current regulations and contain all contemporary comforts, within a limited budget and without compromising the authentic character and detailing. The new high insulation glazing maintain the look and slender details of the original windows, and efficient installations such as floor heating and ventilations were added with minimal visual impact. New elements in dark brown steel and gold and copper-coloured anodized aluminium form a contemporary addition to the original red and yellow brickwork. A new golden stair complements the existing monumental staircase and four copper-coloured gates with a laser cut leaf pattern form the entrance to the complex.


The apartments consist of one to three former classrooms and the adjacent hallway zone. While all apartments are unique, they share the same basic principles. The classrooms contain the living areas and the more private spaces are situated in the hallway zone. Starting point for the design was to make optimal use of the inherent qualities; the monumental space, the tall windows and original details. By choosing a horizontal organization of the apartments, walls between the classrooms could be removed to create large loft-like living spaces. The ceiling height of five meters offered possibilities for adding new intermediate floors and more intimate areas. The characteristic mushroom shaped windows between classroom and corridor are used to create sightlines and increase the sense of spatiality and light. In addition to the communal garden, every apartment has its own private outdoor space.


completion year: 2017 I size: 1030m2 I location: Rotterdam I client: CPO de Lokalen I contractor: Maasbouw Ridderkerk I  construction: IMD Rotterdam I photography: Rene de Wit