Project Description

place: Rotterdam
year: 2010
status: research
team: Remko Remijnse, Rocco Reukema, Stefan de Vos, Jeroen Lemans


The semi-permanent school bridges the gap between temporary school buildings and permanent school buildings. When for example a school burns down or the school is moving to a new location or if the school is in need of more classrooms a temporary school building is used to deal with these situations. The government rules state that these temporary school buildings, which in most cases are prefabricated container units, can be used for a period of no longer than 5 years.

In reality, however, these units are sometimes used for a period up to 15 years. This means that in some cases 3 generations of students will receive education inside these containers like buildings. Apart from the way these units look, research has shown that students that receive education inside these units perform less than students that get educated inside a real school building. This partially has to do with the building physics of the unit, which is below standard, but also the learning environment they provide. Light, space, materials etc not only contribute to students’ performance, but also to students’ health.

The reason why schools decide to use these temporary units is that they are cheap and can be placed and removed in no time. It seems however that if a unit is used for a period longer than 5 years it might be economically more interesting to invest in a permanent building. Building a permanent school, however, is a much longer a more complex process. Therefore schools most of the time to decide to keep the temporary units because there is no alternative.

With the semi-permanent school, we provide this alternative. The semi-permanent unit is designed to be used for a period of 5 and 15 years. The unit has all the qualities of a permanent school but can be placed much faster. Financially the unit is a lot more attractive than either using a temporary unit or building a new permanent school.

The semi-permanent unit is flexible and can be expanded with ease. After the 15 years, the unit can be reused at a different location or can be transformed into a permanent building. The unit in itself is a flexible space that can be modified to the needs of the students and can create different types of learning environments: from a quiet study environment to an active creative environment.