Piter Jelles YnSicht Secondary School

Piter Jelles YnSicht secondary school building boasts an extrovert design, a compact mass maximising the use of space, flexible floor plans and a power consumption that is nearly 35 lower than the required level for this type of building, making the school ahead of its time.

The buildings dynamic layout makes optimal use of the available space. It integrates into the surrounding green spaces in a harmonious way and is a valuable addition to the neighbourhood and the city. Sustainability was a key concept in the buildings design. This factor was part of why the Piter Jelles YnSicht school building was one of the four finalists in the 2008 Dutch School Building Prize competition.

Todays education budgets are often minimal. School buildings are exempt from the EPBD standards, the European-wide energy performance standards that the Dutch government has instituted for all other public buildings. Pleas to improve the atrocious air quality in many school buildings are the subject of extensive discussion. Despite the fact that pupils supply the potential for tomorrows society, they have hardly any say in the debate. The school board at Piter Jelles YnSicht and the joint efforts and mutual trust by all the stakeholders resulted in strong lobbying on behalf of the pupils. The tight budget was compensated in this case by a wealth of social skills, all of which benefited the quality of the school building.

The Piter Jelles YnSicht school building is intended first and foremost for the pupil. The shape invites people to enter the building. The exceptional stairs to the entrance with the red trim down the middle represent this invitation: a symbolic red carpet. The pupils receive a royal welcome.

The school aims to connect to the pupils, since the building itself is also intended to be a learning experience for the pupils in technical programmes. The high-profile visibility of the many impressive technical features adds a special touch, showcasing technology for the other people who use and visit the building. For example, the technical room is open to pupils and to visitors. Pipes and ducts are visible and innovative materials have been used in the construction.

Both large and small classrooms were built to facilitate the flexible approach to education used at Piter Jelles YnSicht. This will make it possible for the school to respond to changing educational needs in the coming decades. The adaptive approach is possible due to the flexible wall system used. Operating costs can be kept to a minimum due to the use of durable materials that require no maintenance.

The close cooperation between Piter Jelles YnSicht, the contractors and RAU architects resulted in an exceptionally high-quality building that teachers and pupils are proud of.

optional background information on the schools name YnSicht
The Frisian word ynsicht has two meanings. The first is land ahoy, the first sighting of new land during an ocean voyage, referring to the buildings shape which is reminiscent of a ship. The second meaning of ynsicht is insight, gaining knowledge, which is what schools help pupils do. Suggestions for the schools new name were submitted by many people, including local residents, parents, pupils and teachers. A working group finally chose the name YnSicht.


The faade of the Piter Jelles YnSicht building is made of environmentally friendly Plato wood.

The pipes and technical systems have been deliberately left in plain sight for educational reasons.


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