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Inspirations Project GalleryFree Primary School De Sprong

Free Primary School De Sprong

Location: Waardamme, Belgium

Sqm: Lino Art (500m2) + Taraflex Multi-Use (250m2)

Year: 2021


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Low-maintenance and durable floors for new building section Free Primary School De Sprong

Primary school De Sprong is situated in the centre of the village of Waardamme next to the church. The Sint-Blasius parish church with cemetery is listed as a protected monument on the architectural heritage inventory. Together with the nearby former presbytery on the Dorpsplein and the existing cemetery wall between the church and the school site, it forms a protected village sight. Architecten Groep III from Bruges integrated the new building volume of the school optimally into this historical context. Oxfloor-Multistep from Kortrijk was responsible for installing the durable Gerflor floors in the classrooms and the sports hall.

"The school buildings were in a poor technical state and no longer met the needs of the school," says architect Delphine Bostoen. "The different locations also made it difficult for the school to function. Both the sanitary facilities and the refectory were very outdated, there was a need for a gymnasium and there was also a capacity problem. The school therefore wanted six new classrooms, a gymnasium with associated changing rooms, new toilets and a dining area with supporting accommodation.

Contemporary volume versus protected village landscape

Architecten Groep III thoroughly studied which buildings were worth preserving and which would be better to be demolished. The design team opted to preserve only the existing monastery building, because of its heritage value and the recently completed roof extension. On the ground floor, a new refectory and sports hall were built with the associated functions such as sanitary facilities, changing rooms, storage and a maximum surface area for open play.

On the first floor, there are 6 primary classes organised in an L-shaped volume that folds over the playground, creating a covered play area. This L-shaped volume faces the church and the protected villagescape. On the one hand, the contemporary volume confronts the protected villagescape, but on the other hand the choice of sober and similar materials creates a dialogue between the two.

Seamless material

Architecten Groep III recommended DLW Linoleum Lino Art from Gerflor as a floor covering for the classrooms. This type of flooring has the surface treatment Neocare, which makes it extremely hardwearing. "For classrooms, we always prefer a material that is as seamless as possible because this brings maximum uniformity. Linoleum is also an ecological product, acoustically interesting and easy to maintain if the right products are used." In primary schools, Architecten Groep III often works with bright, inspiring colours. "In De Sprong primary school we chose yellow as the basic colour, supplemented by an accent colour for each room to make the individual classes recognisable. Yellow is the universal colour for cheerfulness, positivity and happiness. Who wouldn't want to give this feeling to the children? It also stimulates the brain and the thought process.

The company Oxfloor-Multistep was responsible for laying the floor. David Janart: "The linoleum floor was delivered to the site in rolls. First we levelled the subfloor. After all, through a linoleum covering with a thickness of 2.5 millimetres you see the slightest unevenness. Then the strips were cut and laid open to acclimatise. Finally, we glued the strips, cut the edges nicely and heat-welded the seams for a waterproof finish."

Top layer with long lifespan

The municipality of Oostkamp is participating in the project to make the school accessible to clubs after school hours. The location of the sports hall and cafeteria on the ground floor ensures that optimum operation is also possible after school. Group II Architects therefore went in search of a multi-purpose floor product for the sports hall and finally chose the Taraflex® Multi-Use. "It is extremely suitable as a sports floor, but can also be walked on with normal shoes during pre-school and after-school activities," says architect Bostoen. "This type of floor was also used during the renovation of the gymnastics hall in the Spanjeschool in Roeselare. This hall is also used for multipurpose activities and we have already received many positive reactions to this choice of floor. Gerflor recently launched a number of new colours in the range that convinced us to opt for this product.

Janart also praises the Taraflex® Multi-Use. "The advantage of this floor covering is that the top layer has a lifespan of more than 30 years. With other types of flooring, you have to renew the top layer regularly and thus also the lines for the various types of sports."

Finally, architect Bostoen has some tips for fellow designers who want to prescribe linoleum floors. "Go for the right type of linoleum with the right top layer that is suitable for a school application. High loads and as little maintenance as possible are typical of the school context. However, maintenance should be done in the right way with the right products in order to enjoy an optimal lifespan. And a not unimportant detail: coordinate the type of chair and table legs with the linoleum flooring."

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