4e Gymnasium


An exciting and seductive interior

A building that looks like a movie set with neon signs. A front wall as a colorful adventure that doesn’t immediately reveals what’s on the inside. It could be a theater or a library. None of this is true: this exciting building accommodates the 4th Gymnasium at the lumber ports of Amsterdam.

The school was founded in 2005 by three existing gymnasia in Amsterdam: Barlæus, Vossius en Ignatius, in collaboration with the Cartesius Lyceum. This became ‘the 4th Gymnasium’ which has been located in a temporary building for nine years. “Originally, the 4th Gymnasium was a working title, but we got so used to it, the name maintained”, explains Nathalie Wesner (coordinator of construction works).

“Our teachers and students were also used to the temporary building and very fond of it, so we wanted to involve them as much as possible in the design of the new building”, she continuous. "A group of colleagues and students had a seat in the building committee, which later on became the design team. For every type of space a list of demands was established, keeping in mind the look of the rooms, media library and learning squares. We went to trade shows and created mood boards. During the selection procedure we asked several companies to present their decoration proposal and Vanerum was one of them. They contributed to the design of the classrooms, learning squares, refectory, the atrium and media library and made a lot of custom made furniture. In the classrooms you can find furniture where pupils can sit individually, but in the learning squares many different arrangements are possible."

Frans Smit (senior account manager): “We produced a lot of custom made furniture, like the cabinets in the refectory and in the learning square, where a wall unit is placed, containing small cabinets, a notice board and open shelfs, based on a sketch of one of the students, named Lotte. We did not only delivered the furniture, but were also responsible for audiovisual integration, we installed of i3BOARDS, the newest laser projectors, all equipped with i3LEARNHUB software. On the roof top we created an outdoor space with tree tables and red lounge benches. Nathalie adds: “ We are the first energy neutral school in secondary education in Amsterdam, we have water tap areas to fill bottles in the building and on the schoolyard and we are the first school with a gender neutral toilet. As you can see, we are very proud”.