Having fun at school
„Have fun“ is the slogan of the new Campus Scolaire Capellen built recently in the eponymous Luxemburg town just a few kilometres from the country’s capital. The creator of the slogan is Jim Clemes, the architect commissioned to design the school. As he himself explains, „Learning stems from practice, but only when the goal of having fun is also taken seriously.“
His latest endeavour is the 6,000 square metre Capellen campus which accommodates the nursery and primary school as well as collective areas for sport and education.
The building’s structure is tailored specifically to children’s needs. It comprises two compact volumes that integrate well with the residential context in terms of scale and heights. The first, located to the south and used for the primary and nursery school classrooms, is U-shaped and contains a sheltered and sunny play and creativity area devoted entirely to preschool children. To the north stands the second L-shaped building which houses the spaces for after-school and indoor sports activities, with adjacent outdoor spaces. All the sports facilities are designed to be accessible to the public so that the campus can be used by local residents throughout the week and not just during school hours. Externally the two buildings are clad with grey coloured clinker tiles to enable them to blend harmoniously into the urban residential context. „We chose a colour that would be relevant to the town,“ explained Clemes. But while the exterior has a texture inspired by the houses in the neighbourhood, the interior is brightly coloured and reflects the carefree fun and happiness of the children, who must also learn to enjoy themselves while at school.
The interior design project, carried out in partnership with architect Ingbert Schilz, displays meticulous attention to detail. The result? Liveable and functional spaces filled with light and colour.
The classrooms and common areas are dominated by the wood furnishings that stand out against the walls painted in solid colours, while porcelain tiles are used in the bathrooms and kitchens. The mini square tiles (10×10 cm) from the Trasparenze series by Ceramica Vogue take pride of place, chosen in a bright range of colours, from fruit tones (grapefruit, pistachio, papaya and lime) to shades inspired by gemstones (emerald, jade and turquoise). The cheerful but never sentimental play of colours is based on an alternation of monochromatic spaces with harlequin-like multicoloured environments, which contrast pleasantly with the all-white sanitary fixtures and furnishings.
The material is also an excellent choice in terms of functionality as it guarantees durability, strength, hygiene and ease of cleaning, all of which are essential characteristics in a school.