BIG’s design for creative learning

Kerry Boettcher
Friday 12 Jun 2015

Gammel Hellerup High School expansion by BIG is inaugurated by school’s sports and arts enthusiasts

Following the completion of a multi-purpose hall in 2013, BIG have also now completed a 1400 sq m extension for cultural activities at Gammel Hellerup High School in Copenhagen. The two-level addition provides students with generous space for social and creative learning, while increasing the capacity of the school in response to its growing popularity. 

The new arts building is located between the school’s multi-purpose hall and adjacent football fields, connecting the sports areas with the gymnasium’s existing educational facilities. Parts of the extension have been placed underneath the football fields, allowing students to walk through the sunken sports hall at the centre of the school’s courtyard, to the classrooms, cafeteria, and out to the main entrance at street level. 

Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG says: “My high school, formerly introverted and dispersed, has become open and integrated through two focused interventions. Even though each phase is autonomous and complete – their introduction into the mix has completely reconfigured the sum of the parts. Like a catalyst or an enzyme – once inserted – all the surrounding substance transforms into something completely new.”

Where the sports hall was made of concrete with wooden finishes, the classrooms are the inverse, with wooden walls complemented by concrete ceilings and floors. 

Here you can view Danish filmmaker Kaspar Astrup Schroder’s video of free-runner Bjarke Hellden’s urban acrobatics, as he climbs, runs, jumps and swings in one continuous motion through Gammel Hellerup High School. Music is by Efterklang – courtesy of Sony/ATV, EMI Music Publishing. 

Kerry Boettcher

News editor

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