Moving with the times

Nick Myall
Thursday 10 Nov 2016

The design of this progressive school in Denmark focuses on physical activity in response to Danish reforms

Designed by Henning Larsen Architects and GPP Architects, Danish School Building of the Year, Frederiksbjerg School, is the first school in Denmark to meet the demands of the Danish school reform of 2013. The law focuses on learning through movement and sensation as well as openness and community creation. Part of the reform is a demand of a minimum of 45 minutes of movement and activity throughout school hours.

The school is situated in the district of Frederiksbjerg in Aarhus city centre. It is already a gathering point for the children and youth of the local society. Inside the building offers a great variety in space, light and materiality, thus creating an adaptable and sentient learning environment with a focus on health and fellowship. Outside the school adapts to its historical surroundings by means of heights and materiality.

The school houses 900 students, a daycare facility and a youth club, and after school hours the premises can be used for evening classes, courses and sports arranged by local associations and societies. Large terraces and outdoor teaching facilities contribute to the area by bringing the teaching and school life into the cityscape. The outdoor facilities are open around the clock.

Frederiksberg School is organised around a centre atrium where the building's four clusters meet and join together. The clusters are built around a shared centre-room encouraging various activities and/or quite studies. The 40 activity areas focus on learning through movement and play. These areas are specifically fitted to different age groups and their levels of understanding and motion. The study areas are small niches that create quiet space for individual study.

The school shares public playgrounds and outside areas with the surrounding houses and institutions. The playgrounds are supplemented by big terraces on each floor which work as both learning and playing areas. On the rooftop you find playing fields and areas with furniture where you can sit, relax and enjoy the view. Some of the terraces can in addition be used as outside workshops for the classes. All the terraces are open for the public outside of school opening hours.

Frederiksbjerg School was recently awarded Danish School Building of the Year 2016.

Nick Myall

News editor

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