WAN Education Award 2016 Winner Announced

Christina Ingram
26 Apr 2016

JJW Architects triumphs with South Harbour School project to claim title

We are thrilled to announce JJW Architects as the winner of the WAN Education Award 2016 for their highly articulated project, South Harbour School – Congratulations!

The winner was selected from a shortlist of six high calibre projects that showcased a remarkable and diverse range of the best in international educational design. We were honoured to have a fantastic line up of judges for this award, who had the responsibility of picking a winner. The panel included: Simon Allford Director at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Sarah Ball Principal at Woods Bagot, Maria Nesdale Education & Culture Practice Area Leader, Senior Associate at Gensler, Keith Papa Architect Director at Building Design Partnership (BDP) and Keith Lilley Director of Estates & Facilities Management at Sheffield University. 

Located in Copenhagen, Denmark where the population is currently growing at a fast pace of over 1,000 new citizens a month, the city needed to look at increasing its school facilities. South Harbour School is a new public school with a maritime and public profile, inviting in its neighbours and reaching out to its city, becoming an active and socially sustainable part of its new community. In due time the public will also gain access to classrooms dedicated to specific subjects such as music and cooking classes. Simon expressed his views, saying, “By far the best of the highly articulated schemes, this project engages the landscape and the building in making a new place, in a new piece of city.”

JJW Architects designed South Harbour with the understanding that schools are equally places for the learning process and also for social exchange. Surprises and new experiences are central concepts for the school. On each floor, plans change and the heights of the rooms vary throughout. These scale changes are central to the project where high ceiling open rooms are combined with more intimate, low-ceiling spaces. The school also features a variety of horizontal and vertical connections and spaces. The idea behind this design is to ensure students, teachers and visitors are surprised, challenged and stimulated as they move around indoors and outdoors. The dualities of activity/rest, light/dark, warm/chilly are all part of the concept. South Harbour School provides different spaces and environments to support the children’s learning processes and social abilities. The jury members were unanimously impressed by the use of space. Sarah remarked, “When you look at it, absolutely every single space is being used. I also love how this sits, it’s completely contextual and it has its own identity.” Keith P followed on to say, “I think that the kids would definitely love it, no doubt about it. It’s been done with a really rigorous and intelligent plan that is not in any way wilful, which is incredible. It’s a really clever and wonderful piece of architecture.”

The school also uses a number of technical solutions to aid in creating a good indoor and acoustically controlled environment, keeping the energy consumption at a minimum level. Various studies show that good use of acoustics have a positive impact on the student learning process and wellbeing, therefore acoustics have been one of the major focus areas throughout the project. 

Final comments on this project came from Maria who simply said, “This is just so Danish and clever, it’s playful, it’s happy and it looks like a happy space to be. Which I think we can all agree on, schools are meant to be our happiest days after all!”

Congratulations to JJW Architects, South Harbour School a truly worthy winner.

WAN AWARDS would like to thank all of this year’s jury panel and all those who entered into the Education Award 2016. Moving into its eighth year, this popular category continues to showcase the best in educational design. 

Christina Ingram

Awards Co-ordinator

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