Designed by Xaveer de Geyter and his team at XDGA, the new Melopee School in Ghent faces one green area on its south side, the dock on its west side, a square, and a housing block on the north, and the harbor road on the east.
The requested program for the building, a combination of a primary school, after-school care center, a nursery, and sports facilities for both the school and its neighborhood, is diverse and extensive.
In the harbor area, a narrow stretch of land along a dock is freed from port activities.
The very simple “chopstick”’ urban plan was developed by O.M.A. in which green open pockets alternate with dense construction.
In order to offer a notion of centrality to the linear plan, a public path is meant to cross the whole strip.
The project required a great deal of specific outside playgrounds.
In order to counter the lack of space, deal with the inside-outside complexity of programs and allow for the public path to pass, the maximum building envelope is divided into two halves: one compact building housing all interior functions, and outside space in which the playgrounds are stacked.
In between both, and under a first-level playground realized in glass tiles, the path crosses the volume.
A galvanized steel skeleton unifies the two halves.
On the side of the interior volume, the façades of the building are designed as a patchwork of opaque and translucent polycarbonate, glass, and aluminum louvers.
The outside structure will be overgrown with vegetation climbing along with a steel mesh, in which some large “windows” are cut out.
Project: Melopee School
Architects: XDGA-Xaveer De Geyter Architecten BVBA
Design Team: Xaveer De Geyter, Karel Bruyland, Thérese Fritzell, Arie Gruijters, Ingrid Huyghe, Willem Van Besien, and Stéphanie Willocx
Client: SO Gent
Photographers: Maxime Delvaux