Go back

A building buzzing with life – right around the clock
Väsby’s New Senior High School is one of several schools and enterprises in Messingen. Also housed here are a specialist senior high school for building and construction, municipal music school, library and waiting room for commuters. Multi-purpose sports, cultural and conference facilities, as well as a café and restaurant, mean that the building just buzzes with life from early in the morning until late in the evening. The interplay between education and community life creates an exciting meeting place right at the heart of Upplands Väsby. Through tradition, renewal, inspiration and development, this place marks a starting point for the small town of the future.

Historic meeting place
Since the early 1900s, the area beside the station has been the most important location in Väsby. When industry moved away, the area started to fall into disrepair, coinciding with the need to renew the senior high school and to find better premises for the library and music school. With the new building, the Messingen neighbourhood has become the engine for the development of Upplands Väsby, and the station area has once again become the most important location, both for the inhabitants of Upplands Väsby and its visitors.

Turning round trends
To offer Mälardalen’s most attractive senior high school was the vision when White was first given the commission to investigate a new senior high school option for Upplands Väsby. The immediate challenge was a shrinking pupil base and a lack of facilities suitable for activities. When Vilunda senior high school subsequently had to be renovated, major construction engineering damage was discovered while the in-flow of pupils continued to diminish. White convinced the politicians of the advantages of building a new, sustainable structure. While focusing on sustainability issues, we also asked the question – what it is that makes a school attractive? An ethnographic survey was carried out, in which pupils and staff from several schools were interviewed concerning the way the built environment should contribute to the power of attraction. The response was that there should be concentration on an open building, with a distinctive outward appearance and providing space for social activities. The pupils wanted a safe, open meeting place in which people were visible and could feel themselves to be visible.

More people working together
After study trips, workshops and strategic discussions, a picture emerged in which the senior high school took on the shape and role of a cultural hub in Upplands Väsby. Two senior high schools (Väsby’s New Senior High School and the Peab School) have been integrated with the municipal music school, the municipal library, multi-functional sports facilities also suitable for gatherings, events and exhibitions, plus a common entrance area, café and restaurant, enabling future expansion also to be catered for. The façade is industrial in character, reminiscent of the location’s history. Externally, the design comprises perforated sheet metal of varying transparency which loosens the simple cubic shape. Corten steel ribs constitute external sun screening, providing colour and a contrast to the glazed sections of the building.

Varied teaching environments
The building has a rich indoor layout with a variety of environments that stimulate learning, activities and ideas. To support different forms of education, there are team facilities shared by both pupils and teachers. Mini assembly halls, group rooms, open teaching environments and ordinary classrooms provide space for new working methods, meaning that everyone is able to choose the style of teaching that is most appropriate.

Sustainability in focus
Strict sustainability targets were specified early on in the project. The building is currently going through the certification process and will be classified in compliance with Miljöbyggnad, Sweden’s national green building standard. This means that the building is of a high construction standard with regard to many of the factors that have an impact on its users from a health and comfort perspective. It also means that the building has been designed in such a way as to take the environment into consideration from an energy and chemicals perspective. The building has been given a sedum roof. The plants on the roof capture a great deal of the acidic rain that would otherwise end up in the surface water drains. Sedum roofs also make for a more even temperature inside the building, while also absorbing air pollution, muffling noise and retarding surface water. The building volume is compact, and therefore energy efficient, minimising the amount of material used in façades.

The modern small town
White was tasked with producing a detailed plan for the entire urban district of Messingen, shaping the external environment and also designing the combined school yard and neighbourhood park. The process is based on close collaboration between several different specialists and skills within White, working closely with Upplands Väsby municipality, Peab and the many enterprises. Messingen was opened in August 2011. Now Väsby’s New Senior High School is also attracting pupils from other municipalities and more enterprises are moving into the building. The vision of creating more than a school has been shown to be successful. With a multi-purpose building based on knowledge, Upplands Väsby is not just creating an attractive meeting place. The modern small town is being built here.

Messingen, Väsby’s new senior high school

  • Client: Upplands Väsby Municipality and Peab
  • Project Start/End: 2009-2011
  • Completed: 2011
  • Area/Size: 15 800 m²
  • City: Upplands Väsby
  • Photographer/Illustrator: Åke E:son Lindman och Thomas Zaar


  • Klara Frosterud - ansvarig arkitekt
  • Hans Forsmark - ansvarig arkitekt
  • Frida Munktell
  • Hans Swensson
  • Raimo Joss
  • Anders Olausson
  • Per Wikfeldt
  • Martin Ceder
  • Yara Hormazábal Cortés
  • Anders Wiil
  • Karin Höök
  • Sofia Eskilsdotter
  • Sofia Palmer
  • Elise Juusela-Norberg
  • Maja Abrahamson
  • Karolina Nyström
  • Erik Eriksson
  • Björn Norén
  • Leif Johansson
  • Margaretha Nilsson
  • Petter Lindencrona
  • Lovisa Kihlborg
  • Jan Wijkmark
  • Rosmari Johansson
  • Magdalena Franciskovic
  • Marie Oldfeldt
  • Viktoria Walldin
  • Kaveh Vaez
  • Niklas Singstedt
  • Katharina Björlin Wiklund
  • Robert Niziolek

Building Type

Similar Projects