a public building for the city
The LOC Hardenberg (Local Education Centre) is a multipurpose complex of 30,000 square metres that provides a full range of educational services. The LOC Hardenberg consists of five schools, a library, a creative centre, a music centre, a so-called SUWI/BVG centre combined with the municipal social services department, and a large parking garage. Adding this large public building to small-scale urban surroundings has resulted in a intricately organised complex with a striking façade composition.
The building measures around 115 by 53 metres in size and has four levels, including the underground car park. Four large atriums 7.5 metres in width bring daylight into the big volume. Spacious entrances on three sides provide access to the building and lead to the connecting routes that widen and narrow wherever extra functions are needed. Connecting the voids to the big interior street creates an intricate fabric of covered streets, alleys and squares. All spaces are flexibly arranged so that they can accommodate the changing needs of education. A separate building offers space for agricultural education and contains accommodation and a workspace for animals.
From schoolyard to church
The volume is kept as compact as possible on account of the village-like character of the existing surroundings. The individual circulation spaces of the required programme elements are combined with public spaces.
Both the voids and interior street feature double programmes so that occupants can meet one another and opportunities to collaborate are created. The interior street widens in the centre of the building to become an inner square. As a result, the weekday schoolyard can transform in the evenings into a space for events, shows and, on Sunday, even a church.
From small to big
The façade is carried out in a pattern of blocks with a tactile, attractive skin made of a stone specially developed for this project. Windows of different sizes are incorporated into this pattern of blocks, varying from small for the generic spaces to large for specific spaces. The brickwork pattern and the alternation of window openings adds subtlety to the bulky volume. The fragmented character of the façade creates a natural transition to the scale of the existing built environment.