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Since the beginning of the 20th century open air schools have been built to help physically weak children gain strength aided by sun and fresh air. In 1927 Duiker and Bijvoet were commissioned to design such a school in Amsterdam-South. Standing on the inner court of a perimeter block, it was preceded by five preliminary plans for various locations.
The school consists of a square classroom block in four levels placed diagonally on the site. This basic square is subdivided into four quadrants around a diagonal central staircase. East and west quadrants each contain one classroom per storey and share an open air classroom on the south side. The north quadrant occupies the ground floor only and comprises a staff room. Also on the ground floor are a classroom in the west quadrant, the main entrance below the open air classrooms and an oblong gymnasium, sunken to accommodate its extra height and half tucked in under the classroom block. The concrete columns are situated not at the corners but in the middle of the quadrants’ sides, producing a favorable distribution of forces in the facade beams, keeping the corners free of columns and strengthening the school’s open, ‘floating’ appearance. Floor slabs cantilever over the main beams resulting in a counterbalance of moment. The columns are further coupled diagonally by secondary beams which express in the ceiling the diagonal spatial composition of the classrooms.