In an old industrial town, Strømmen, some 20 kilometres from Oslo in Norway, is the newly built school Bråtejordet. It is the first building in what will become a new residential area. The school combines traditionally clear boundaries with innovative educational environments.
The competition for a new secondary school in Skedsmo municipality attracted 28 firms, five of which were prequalified. White was the only foreign firm and managed to win with the proposal “Rammer og nivåer” (frames and levels). The jury was very positive to the proposal’s holistic and varied design.
The work of the architects was based on a clear and well worked-out programme, which clearly indicated that the new school was to be designed with focus on concentration and peace för study. Its aim was to group students and classes in demarcated home areas, where each classroom has its own adjacent breakout room, lavatory, student lockers and break area.White’s winning proposal is founded on clear structures, where spatial thresholds serve as natural boundaries, between school and community as well as between different parts of the school. The way from the large contexts to the tiniest details leads to a structured, well-defined and secure educational learning environment – entirely in line with the desires of the school leadership.
The transition from the large to the small takes place via four levels: Tunet (the yard ), Platået (the plateau), Boksen (the box) and Rommet (the room). Tunet is the changeover zone, where you leave the surrounding community and enter the active schoolyard. A vegetation filter, surrounding the entire yard, gives Tunet a clear demarcation. The schoolyard is divided into fields that allude to the surrounding landscape. The active sections for sports and socializing are placed closer to the building.
The next level, Platået, holds the school’s public entrance floor. This level is placed just over a metre above the new street, Bråteveien, and takes in the fantastic views of the entire landscape. The common functions are visible to the surroundings through large glass panels. Design workshops, music studios, a library and administration are gathered around the school’s central room, serving as foyer, canteen and assembly hall.
The third step leads up to Boksen, on level 2, where each grade (8-10, with five classes in each) have their own clear home area with teacher work spaces and break areas. In Boksen, the views are framed and the learning environments are less open than on the entrance floor, enhancing the sense of concentration and peace. Each home area also has its own staircase to the school’s central hub on the entrance floor. This will reduce the running about in each other’s home areas. The last step leads to Rommet, the homeroom. All classrooms face the cooler points of the compass, away from the schoolyard, in order to optimize the conditions for concentrated teaching.
One of the most appreciated architectural solutions is that the building’s volume is shaped as an angle, embracing the schoolyard in the south, and that the building is located in the most beautiful spot on the highly situated grounds, consciously absorbing the beautiful view. The theme of the formation is linked to the surrounding agricultural landscape, such as for instance the folded roof, which creates a silhouette that alludes to Strømmen’s industrial history, as well as provides high ceilings with beautiful spatial sensations – far from the image of a regular classroom.
Our client, Skedsmo municipality, wanted a hundred year perspective for their new school, both in terms of functionality, educational environments and long-term sustainability. Owing to the compact building structure, material choices and energy system, the energy use is calculated at 79 kWh/m2, equivalent to Norwegian Energy Class A. The materials, both exterior and interior, are chosen to cope with hard wear and to age beautifully, without requiring too much maintenance.
The interior is designed in light hues. The terrazzo flooring on the entrance level, combined with ceiling to floor glass panels, creates a soft transition to the schoolyard’s pale concrete surfaces. The constructive partition walls are made of cast-in-place concrete. The school’s folded roof is covered in verdant Sedum, delaying surface water, and skylights, providing beautiful light to the school’s central room. The dark exterior consists of corrugated, pre-patinated copper, a living material that gets even more beautiful with time. The reflections of morning light in the copper greet students and teachers each morning.
- Client: Skedsmo municipality
- Project Start/End: 2011-2013
- Completed: 2014
- Energy Use: 79 kWh/m2
- City: Bråtejordet
- Photographer/Illustrator: Ivan Brodey
- Thomas Landenberg - ansvarig arkitekt
- Karin Sjödin - ansvarig landskapsarkitekt
- Karin Jakobsson
- Daniel Hultman
- Jeroen Matthijssen