The new addition to Heerup school in Copenhagen binds the school together and gives it a bright and welcoming face. The architecture becomes a natural addition to the old school buildings that we have reinterpreted in our design. In our school expansion, there is space and room for close collaboration between social educators and teachers and for different learning situations.
A natural extension of the school
Originally designed by architect Fritz Schlegel, the school consists of several red, elongated buildings. With our school expansion, Heerup school can accommodate even more children with functional impairments. The school extension has two structures that are interconnected and designed based on analysis of the existing architecture. One structure is a modern interpretation of Schlegel’s red, two-storey buildings, while the other is a one-storey house with round shapes, which connects the elongated buildings. The curved building will be the new arrival area and gives the school an organic front that preserves the original façade. The many windows in the curved facade give the building a more open character than the older, bricked buildings and create a close connection between inside and outside.
A calm learning environment
In the new, organic space between the buildings, the shapes are soft and the lighting natural. Students can find peace and inspiration by looking out through the large windows to the school garden, which is often used in classes. Here, tables and chairs create informal spaces for community, and the continuous use of warm, wooden materials creates a homely atmosphere. The house is open with many skylights and windows between the rooms, but we have also created foreclosed niches where children can retreat if they need to. Students can find their safe home bases in wardrobes near the entrance. The wardrobes are clearly marked with colour, so that the children can find them on their own. From the wardrobes, students can draw into the small classrooms, where they receive support and learning in smaller groups.
On the first floor, there are physiotherapy and ergotherapy functions for the children as well as staff rooms for teachers and social educators. In therapy and training rooms, students will do motoric exercises and activities with the support of the school’s therapists. This department is separated from the staff area, so that the educators have their own space where they can relax and talk undisturbed. Interdisciplinarity is central to the special school, where teachers and special educators work closely together to create customized curricula and action plans for each student. It is therefore important that they have a calm environment to discuss challenges and solutions in depth. The architecture supports this through niches and lounge areas that are comfortable to stay for many hours at a time.
Sustainable actions in the school expansion
The project has great ambitions for sustainability. The school extension is a CLT building where all the load-bearing structures are made of wood. The project is certified for DGNB Gold, and we have continuously made LCA calculations. We have used the LCAs as guides in our design process in order to reduce the building’s CO2 emissions.
- Copenhagen Municipality
- 1610 m²
- Vanløse, Copenhagen
- Matters, ØLLGAARD Rådgivende Ingeniører, STED Landskab
- Heerup School