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  • Large-Spaced School

    Hellerup Elementary School, Coppenhagen

    Architects: David Gryth & Holger Dahl
    Text: Vágó Krisztina
    Photos: David Trood, Torben Eskerod

    In one of the northern districts of the Danish capital close to the sea, the local authority made a decision about building a new school back in the late 1990s. A Copenhagen-based office of architects named Arkitema won the tender published for the project. On entering the building one has a surprising experience: a large number of shoes are arranged on the floor because teachers and school-children change them for „house-shoes” by the entrance. From now on it is obvious that no conventional solutions typical in schools are applied in this institution: there are no classes, corridors, student lounge or a canteen. A large interior hall receives visitors which appears as an artificial landscape with stairs, projections, platforms on which children can sit, lie or even run abut. An imposing staircase is the heart of the 8,200 m2 building offering much more than the possible passage between the storeys. There are no conventional classrooms here: transitory spaces stretching from the stairs are the venues of teaching. These „base rooms” provide the conceps of home for the youngest ones, the feeling of „my house is my castle” as well as the experience of belonging to a group. Spaces may be divided into smaller, more intimate units with mobile partitions, rolling shelves, wardrobes, seats and the furnishing is convertible to meet the needs and tastes of the users.

    Architecture: Arkitema 
    Landscape: Arkitema
    Engineers: Søren Jensen A/S and Balslev A/S 
    Main contractor: NCC Denmark A/S
    Client: Gentofte Municipality