School buildings tend to be a child's first and most in-depth encounter with architecture outside the home, so it makes sense that these buildings would attempt to offer an education in and of themselves. The Marecollege in Leiden, Netherlands, does just that—students get a first hand look at the eternal battle between beauty and ugliness.
Designed by 24H-Architecture, a firm that produces generally high-quality work, the school teaches according to the Steiner or Waldorf method, emphasizing qualitative evaluation, humanistic viewpoints, and a strange brand of spirituality called anthoposophy, which recognizes the human as composed of body, soul, and spirit (a tripartite division that obviously runs afoul of strict materialism, not to mention Descartes's dualism). Somehow, this translates into architecture as a bulbous entryway modeled after the lemniscate (a figure-eight) and wood slatted walls adorned with stylized vegetation. The latter is quite successful from our qualitative evaluation, while the former is...not.
Beauty (above) coupled with unspeakable terror (below).
Images by Boris Zeisser