White won the competition for a new F-6 school in Skövde with the “Oculus” proposal. Oculus is the Latin word for eye. Within the history of architecture, it has been used to describe high-set windows and openings with top lights. The most familiar “oculus” opening is to be found in the antique temple of the Pantheon in Rome.
This concept is given a new, modern interpretation in Billingskolan, contributing to the school’s unique form half-way up at Billingen. On the outside, the Oculus rooms become a symbol of the school’s environmental ambition. On the inside, the rooms function as a shaft for light and creative studios, which become important elements at the hub of the school.
From the jury’s citation: “Oculus is a school that focuses on the way children perceive their environment. There are many possibilities for creating a school in which the educational theory can be right at the forefront, both in the building and in the school grounds that can be developed within the proposal. Oculus is a solitary building with the entire building programme under one roof, including the sports hall. This provides plenty of advantages as to how the school can be used flexibly.
…The school grounds are clearly subdivided with an open, light part for play and educational theory to the south and a tree-covered, shaded part with car parking and the entranceway in the north. The school grounds are considered to be both safe and easy to keep watch over. There are several well defined outdoor spaces for educational activities and play, without them being closed off.
… The principal structure involving “boxes” that have a fixed shape, attaching to the Hub which has an enclosing form which adapts to the positioning and size of the boxes, making it very possible for the building to be developed further. The size and positioning of the boxes can be changed in a development phase without the principal structure of the proposal being changed. The top-lit spaces (the Oculus rooms) within the team units, with distinct colours and ceiling heights, lend a particular quality and experience to the rooms, which the jury considers to be very positive.
… The formulated aim of the programme, to certify the building in compliance with the Gold environmentally classified building category, has been well understood by the proposers, and they relate to eco-certification in detail and indicate, from an architectural perspective, factors that can be easily influenced, for example.”
- Client: Skövde Municipality
- Project Start/End: 2011-2011
- Completed: 2014
- Area/Size: 5000 m² GFA
- City: Skövde
- Photographer/Illustrator: White
- Pupils: Around 350
- Karin Björning-Engström - ansvarig arkitekt
- Björn Bondesson
- Karin Jakobsson
- Karin Sjödin
- Katharina Thullner
- Rikard Sjöberg
- Jeroen Matthijssen