Montessori School Renovation Showcases Kontio SmartLog in the Netherlands

The expansion of Montessori School De Wijde Wereld is one of the first wooden schools in the Netherlands. Its architecture reflects Montessori ideology, sustainable development, and, of course, Kontio’s timber expertise, Woodhow.

Contractor KernBouw bv and Kontiotuote Oy have previously collaborated on log-structured single-family homes in the Netherlands. However, this project marked their first public construction partnership in the Netherlands utilizing Kontio’s timber expertise, WoodHow™.

The Montessori ideology is evident in the building's exterior and interior solutions. The school has no partition walls, encouraging cooperation and interaction in all spaces. Additionally, there is a natural connection between indoor and outdoor areas. The original building from the 1970s now boasts a new wooden facade, giving it a completely new look while maintaining its functional quality and character. One wing of the old school building was entirely demolished, and a new floor was added to the preserved single storied wing. This created a more compact building with sufficient space for twelve classrooms and daycare.


Technical Solutions Enable Sustainability and Recyclability

Sustainable development was one of the most important criteria for the client when choosing wooden construction. The SmartLog system is designed for construction considering the circular economy. The facade logs can be dismantled and reused elsewhere. The logs were fitted with the old concrete structures and the new part’s steel frame, making the project challenging. However, the large and complex project was successfully completed, demonstrating the suitability of logs even in challenging projects. Modern processing technology allows logs to be highly adaptable. Kontio's SmartLog™ log enables versatile connections with other materials.

Wood is a building material that is both physically and physiologically comfortable. It has a acoustically damping effect and ensures good thermal comfort and proper air humidity. A wooden building can achieve better indoor air quality with less HVAC technology. After renovation, the building will produce all its own energy. Two heat pumps were installed indoors, sourced by PVT panels on the roof that produce both heat and electricity.


Precision in Log Construction Enabled Smooth and Fast Building

The project was carried out in two phases. In the first phase, the extension was built on the existing foundations of the demolished wing. In the second phase, the load-bearing concrete pillars and beams of the part to be renovated were preserved, and an additional floor was added. Due to Dutch building regulations, an additional insulation layer must be used with log wall.

Design of the log frame for the first phase began in December 2021. The first log deliveries were made in March 2022. Demolition work was also carried out in 2022. The school was ready for use in September 2023. A successful construction project, involving multiple parties, requires anticipation, systematic planning, and at times, nerves of steel, but also seamless cooperation and trust between the parties. The collaboration was facilitated by the prior cooperation between Kontio and the main contractor KernBouw bv. This trust allowed the relatively short log design phases to focus on the essential, namely the design of the frame and connection details, instead of explaining the basics of log construction and structural design.

Careful scheduling and adherence to the timetable were crucial to the project's success. The project management in the Netherlands was professional. Every meeting was well-prepared, responses from stakeholders were received quickly, and any potential delays or changes were immediately communicated. The installers were amazed at the extreme precision of the parts. On-site installation was smooth and fast, with the parts being the correct size and the quality exceeding expectations.


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