Jesse Mommers

Jesse Mommers


Campus aan de Werf

Campus at the Shipyard

Plea for interweaving vocational education and the practice

Vocational education in the Netherlands is facing a challenge. This type of education must keep up with or even anticipate digitalisation, but also seek to connect with the constantly changing practice that fluctuates in terms of the speed at which it develops. It is important that the student comes to the fore again and that self-development is stimulated within skilled trades. Students therefore deserve a learning environment that responds to that and which embraces the richness of working with your hands. Intensive cooperation between education and the practice can contribute to this.

More attention for the individual student who is learning or performing a trade requires a spatial experiment: education and practice will be interwoven herein. In this way, the student is given the space to develop intensively within a skilled trade. At the same time, the practice is given the opportunity to learn from the open outlook of the student and use can be made of the educational facilities. In this way, a reciprocal symbiosis arises on a new campus for metalworking where the student lives and learns, and where the skilled worker works.

The setting for the experiment is formed by a shipyard on the outskirts of Amsterdam, the Oranjewerf. Bordering the broadest part of the IJ river, the shipyard forms, as it were, an ensemble of tools and materials. The shipyard is under pressure, however, due to the encroaching area development that is driving small-scale industry out of the city, while it is so important to preserve this industry for the city. That also applies to the education in this field.

The shipyard, currently a monofunctional hotchpotch that survives by growing and shrinking, forms the basis for the new campus. Each building is positioned in such a way that the qualities and functions of the site are optimally geared towards the actions of the student and interaction with the skilled worker. Each building is designed as a structure that provides space for the student’s actions. The buildings exude a ruggedness that ties in with the character of metalworking and they are made from a large variety of materials.

The new programme on the campus is aimed at bringing students and skilled workers together. They work, eat and relax together. There is plenty of space to work on big projects. The company and the school are combined spatially and organisationally in order to make interchange possible on all levels.

Life on campus creates a rich learning environment where there is room for encounters and discovery. By dividing the programme over the entire site, the student moves across the site intensively during the day, as well as moving past and through the workshops of the skilled workers. There is room on-site for the student to work on his/her own projects next to the lessons, either individually or in groups. Students are given a studio on-site where they can live and work in a private environment, and can develop into skilled workers.

Graduation committee: Rob Hootsmans (mentor), Dingeman Deijs, Paulien Bremmer.
Additional members for the exam: WInfried van Zeeland, Floris Hund.

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