'De Polyglot' Primary School Spiere-Helkijn

Felix-Glorieux, Grimmelprez

'De Polyglot' Primary School Spiere-Helkijn exterior view (enlarged view in image gallery)

Photos: A. Fonck

  • 'De Polyglot' Primary School Spiere-Helkijn exterior view
  • 'De Polyglot' Primary School Spiere-Helkijn exterior view on play ground
  • 'De Polyglot' Primary School Spiere-Helkijn corridor
  • 'De Polyglot' Primary School Spiere-Helkijn cafeteria with steel structure
  • 'De Polyglot' Primary School Spiere-Helkijn name of the school in metal on the gate
  • 'De Polyglot' Primary School Spiere-Helkijn plan
  • Status:


  • Education type:

    GO! Education of the Flemish Community

  • Education level:

    Primary Education (pre-school + primary)

  • Address:

    Oudenaardseweg 75, 8587 Spiere-Helkijn

  • Client:

    GO! Education of the Flemish Community, School group 21

  • Contest:

    Selection procedure Flemish Government Architect

  • Programme:

    Classrooms, toilets, administration, dining area, kitchen, multifunctional hall

  • Area:


  • Number of classrooms:

    14 classrooms

Austere extension to create a cohesive school site

There is a service campus on the borders between the municipalities of Spiere and Helkijn, surrounded by a beautiful undulating landscape. The public buildings were conceived as free-standing structures and have a very varied range of architectural designs. They were developed as single unrelated elements, and simply ‘dropped’ in the grassy fields. The municipal primary school is part of this site and had to be extended.

Instead of adding yet another type of building to the collection on the site, the designer recognised valuable architectural characteristics in the existing school building and used these as the starting point for the extension. For example, the architecture of the new building used the same red brick porches of the existing building. The new school building has been planned in such a way that, together with the existing building, it forms a single entity in relation to the environment. The positions of the school buildings define the playgrounds for both the primary and the nursery school. The buildings are arranged in a cluster like farm buildings around a yard. This adds to the identity of the space.

Another starting point in this design was to ensure sustainable building, both at the spatial and at the architectural and technical level. The compact character of the new wing of the school for the lower school and the administration is very important for this. The nursery classrooms were accommodated in the existing school. Where necessary, openings were made between the classrooms to allow for contact between individual classrooms.

The ground plan of the new wing of classrooms consists of two floors and two stairwells with a door which opens directly onto the playground. On the first floor, there are two groups of four classrooms in each case arranged around a foyer. On the ground floor there is a third group of four classrooms on one side, and the administrative block and the sanitary facilities on the other side. The two clusters are linked by a narrow corridor, which has a glazed roof to provide the necessary daylight. The classrooms also have extra daylight through the large glass windows on the corridor. The kitchen and dining area are accommodated in a separate building block. There is a large overhang which links the two buildings and at the same time serves as a covered playground and as a welcoming entrance for waiting parents.