CEBRA completes the Mesterfjellet School in Larvik, Norway
The new Mesterfjellet School and Family Centre in Larvik, Norway is a collaboration between Danish architecture office CEBRA and Norwegian collaborators, Various Architects, SPINN Arkitekter and landscape architects Østengen & Bergo. The sustainable, energy-efficient building has been designed with the learning and teaching environment in mind. The school creates an environment for a lively, multifaceted and flexible educational space.
The central atrium with views of the playground allows natural daylight to flood in, creating a central space from which the classrooms are spread vertically. This transparent and unusual organisation combines the best qualities from traditional compact atrium schools. The flagship magenta stairway spirals up through the space to create an inviting and exciting path for the students. Along with specialised teaching spaces, there are also seating niches for socialising or studying, and larger storytelling and meeting areas.
The central open space is clad with perforated wooden panels that provide sound absorption. The panels are decorated with motifs depicting images from scientific history, Nordic mythology, and musical elements.
The new school was built to connect to a pre-existing multi-function sports and swimming centre, and includes a Family Centre, which houses local health and social care services.
Mesterfjellet School and Family Centre was designed with a minimal building footprint to allow maximum use of the urban site for playgrounds, sports facilities and outdoor learning spaces which benefit both the school and the local area as a whole. The outdoor areas are comprised of the entrance plaza, atrium, playground and sports zone. The atrium to the south was designed around a massive existing Tilia tree that fills the space. Playground areas are divided into geometrical islands with age differentiated apparatus, while the sports zone contains a football pitch, an obstacle course and a climbing tower. In addition to the central Tilia tree, two other large existing trees were saved on site and a series of new trees have been planted to strengthen the green structure and give a greater biodiversity to the area. Rainwater is treated on site with surface capture and integrated permeable drainage areas.
Wood is used extensively throughout the building to give the school a warm Nordic palette. The exteriors of the heavily insulted outside walls are clad with vertical boards in varying widths of Kebony, a maintenance-free thermo-treated wood.
The building’s wooden exterior will patina to a silvery-grey over time allowing the building to blend in with Larvik’s landscape.
The architects state that good interior climate and energy efficiency has been central to the design and engineering of Mesterfjellet School. The building features an advanced hybrid-ventilation system that combines mechanical ventilation and natural ventilation through the use of computer controlled automated windows. Sensors in each room and a weather station on the roof are used to balance and control the windows based upon the air-quality of each room and outdoor conditions.
Practical, functional, beautiful and bright, the Mesterfjellet School provides an inspirational and interesting place for teaching and learning. What lucky students who get to study there!