one building, two faces

Het Sterrenwerk, Sassenheim

The integrated child center in Sassenheim (in The Netherlands) - called Het Sterrenwerk - is the place where every child is given the space to blossom and grow, and then confidently face the future. LIAG has realized this ambition of a merged school and childcare facility with the design for this child center. A qualitatively good and healthy building has been realized. An environment has been created where everyone feels at home, and where students perform well while teachers experience less stress.

Photography: Lucas van der Wee

education & childcare

Sophia Scholen, UniKidz and Municipality Teylingen



in use

Located amidst a vinex neighborhood from the 1980s, the child center immediately catches the attention of passersby. Although the use of sand-colored brick blends in with the surroundings, it is clear that the two-story new construction serves a special function. The variation in color nuances and brick patterns emphasizes the societal character of this building. While the robust appearance suits its function. It makes it clear to everyone: this child center offers every child a safe home.

"The shape of the building appears simple, but we have managed to make the facade distinctive. The masonry complements the surrounding residences. Through an abstract interplay of surfaces and the necessary refinement in execution, the building distinguishes itself, while also showcasing its function."
Thomas Bögl, LIAG architects + engineers

One Building, Two Faces
The location of this child center is unique. It is surrounded by roads and waterways. And that has influenced the architecture. A spacious, cantilevered floor extending across the entire length defines the appearance of the facade facing the street. This design offers several advantages: it shields children and parents on the schoolyard from the sun and rain, while also facilitating a seamless transition between the external dynamics and the internal serenity. Towards the rear of the building, there is a setback. This gradual elevation, combined with the use of natural materials and organic shapes, harmonizes with the verdant surroundings. This is beneficial, as it results in a sheltered place for the youngest and a rooftop terrace with a view for the older students.

"I am happy, but above all, incredibly proud that the building has turned out exactly as we had hoped. The abundance of light and space fulfills a long-cherished desire."
Adelheid Bierman, Het Sterrenwerk

Tailored to (Children's) Needs
The layout of the child center aligns with the concept of a continuous learning journey. Childcare and education are seamlessly integrated and naturally progress. As a result, each age group has its own distinct and identifiable space within the building. The layout of each cluster is tailored to the needs and dimensions of its respective age group. While the environment for the youngest students is carefully sheltered both indoors and outdoors, the spaces for older age groups gradually open up. Despite the increasing spaciousness of each subsequent cluster, the child center retains a small-scale feel. This layout fosters a sense of belonging and familiarity among students. Rounded forms, natural materials, soft colors, and ample natural light define the interior, enhancing the overall homely ambiance of the space.

"Between the classrooms, there is a collaborative workspace. This is a valuable addition. These are spaces where students who need extra support can work with focus in a calm environment."
teacher, Het Sterrenwerk

A Multifunctional Heart
At the heart of this child center is a striking focal point and multifunctional piece of furniture: a bamboo sculpture that serves as a reception desk, kitchen, storage space, and staircase - all in one. It serves as a meeting point. Here, you meet each other or come together. At the same time, it serves as an orientation point. This social heart is connected to all clusters, the playground on the ground floor, and the learning areas on the upper floor. Finally, the versatility of this element offers numerous possibilities for the use of this central space.

"The sheltered areas are comforting for the youngest, while the open and larger spaces are ideal for the older students to make their own. The group areas embrace the learning and play areas, ensuring they are always in view and designed in a way that has a calming effect on the children."
Mart Bremer, LIAG architects + engineers

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