The 33,400 sq m Thor Heyerdahl School of Advanced and Further Education, named after Thor Heyerdahl, a famous Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer, follows in the footsteps of its namesake, venturing into the unknown by acting as a social and educational experiment mixing technical and higher education college students to encourage cross pollination of thoughts.
"We have chosen to rethink and challenge the traditional boundaries surrounding school buildings. We wanted to create an architectonic base for a well functioning student environment and increased cross disciplinary activity", said associate partner Kristian Ahlmark, design architect on the school project.
To achieve this effect the building design, formed of four vertical winged axes, focuses on the creation of a central social hub with open, informal meeting spaces. Individual spaces then gradually close off moving outward until the furthest areas of the wings are calm and secluded to allow concentrated studying. The teaching takes place in the terraced wings. Parts of the classrooms have glass walls to maintain openness and contact to the common areas. The workshops for the technical educations are also in open contact with the rest of the school.
The central structure consists of an open quadratic deck. This deck has deep incisions that give the building a dynamic form and enable daylight to seep into the furthest corners of the building. The deck above is identical but twisted 180 degrees around the central axis of the building. Hence, at series of single and double height areas are created providing visual contact from one floor to the next. The shifting decks create external terraces in a direct flow from the classrooms.
Incorporated in the 73 million€ design is a 4000 seat arena which will be used for educational sports during the day and for use by the local handball team and as a cultural and sporting event space in the evenings.