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Vaagen and Sandnes Culture Academy, Sandnes, Norway

Monday 28 Feb 2011

Inside the cocoon

Photos: Daniel Clements 
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Award Entry

New school places emphasis on educational programmes with aesthetic curriculums 

The submission for this new high school won first prize in an EEA competition in 2005. Conveniently located in the centre of Sandnes, the school has room for 800 students. The school caters to a variety of academic subjects within media and communication, drawing and design, arts and crafts, music, dance, and drama. The building covers an area of 22,500 sq m including a sports hall, a lecture theatre with 380 seats, miscellaneous audition room, and rooms equipped for gymnastics.

The project exhibits a tight simplicity that reflects the corresponding rationale informing the internal configurations. At the same time, individual building sections give a dynamic and power to the campus. 'The cocoon', in the atrium, is one such element. With its stooping and leaning extensions spreading themselves over 4 levels, it stitches itself through the ceiling and leans out over the street to the west. On the 4th floor a continuous glass façade with alternating coloured-glass panels up to 170 metres in length becomes a plinth for the school’s logo. A characteristic building segment towards the north is a ‘funkis’ building with a plastered façade. This is a building that has a similar reconstruction to that of a building that has been grated, but which Sandnes Kommune wanted incorporated as part of a larger, older built environment.

The campus is characterised by a refined use of materials. 'The cocoon' is clad with larch, both on the exterior and on the interior. Heavier, more or less open building sections are dressed with travertine, while the canteen areas and foyers have up to 3 levels with glass façade towards the south and towards the river promenade. The buildings appear open towards the south and east, but more closed towards the street in the west and north. The school has its basis in educational programmes with aesthetic curriculums. Interaction and communication across the disciplines, but with possibilities for specialisation have been leading themes during the development of the masterplan.

The masterplan is concentrated on a large central common area, which is apparent on all of the school’s 4 levels. Good connections between open staircases and lifts in this area link all 4 levels together. Students and teachers will meet here from the various teaching departments. The different student groups have learning areas which consist of large and small classrooms and group rooms. These areas are characterised by a use of glass which gives an abundance of light and openness. Emphasis has been placed on providing universal access throughout the entire campus.

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
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