Skolen ved Sundet

2015 | Copenhagen, Danmark

Fact box:
Client: City of Copenhagen
Assignment: Feasibility studies prior to overall renovation
Area: 9,049 sq.m
Listed buildings: 8,221 sq.m
Status: Completed in 2015
Architect: Elgaard Architecture
Engineer: Niras
Landscape architect: GHB Landskab
Architect-specific services: Client consultancy

ELGAARD Architecture and Niras have carried out a set of feasibility studies on buildings and outdoor areas at Skolen ved Sundet prior to overall renovation. The overall renovation will include interior and exterior refurbishment; energy and climatic modification, indoor climate, accessibility and modernisation. Skolen ved Sundet was built in 1938 as a primary school with an adjacent open-air school for delicate children. The school is regarded as Kaj Gottlob’s pièce de résistance and was listed in 1990. For that particular reason ELGAARD Architecture has drawn up a strategy for refurbishing of the school as part of the feasibility studies, paying ample attention to the preservation values of the existing buildings and outdoor areas. GHB Landskab has taken part in the feasibility studies relating to the outdoor areas for ELGAARD Architecture. In addition to the overall renovation, ELGAARD Architecture has drawn up a conceptual outline for the scheme Fremtidens Fritidstilbud (After-school Activities in the Future) and for the School Meals Programme operated by the Municipality of Copenhagen (EAT), both at Skolen ved Sundet.

Skolen ved Sundet with its attendant Open-air School is one of the first functionalist assembly-hall schools in Denmark (open-plan layout in which classrooms and subject rooms are based around the main hall).

Skolen ved Sundet with its attendant Open-air School is one of the first functionalist assembly-hall schools in Denmark (open-plan layout in which classrooms and subject rooms are based around the main hall). The political ambition for the schools centers around the idea of giving children living in Copenhagen the opportunity to enjoy their school day in light -and healthy premises with access to the outdoors during breaks. The inspiration for the Open-air School derives from France, and its purpose was to cater for delicate children who required specific mental or nutritional care alongside their schooling. Apart from classrooms, the Open-air School includes; a resting hall, a sickbay, light therapy and other health-promoting amenities. In front of the south wing, the school had its gardens, which amongst other functions contained classrooms surrounded by green hedges for teaching al fresco. The school was the first and only school of its kind in Denmark.

The principal preservation values at Skolen ved Sundet are linked to the two schools’ intentional correlation with the surrounding residential area through clearly split functions in defined building units. The low-rise area supports Kaj Gottlob’s wish to create two daylit and airy school facilities integrating nature as part of the children’s school day. At the same time, the school has an invaluable cultural-historical value as one of the country’s first hall-type schools and, in particular, as the only one of its kind including a unit for delicate children, as its original functions have been preserved to this very day. We recommend that overall renovation of Skolen ved Sundet should be realised as an interactive trade-off, retaining the values of the listed facility while maintaining a modern primary school in terms of organisation and teaching. As part of the overall restoration strategy, the correlation between the principal preservation values and the individual construction works will be reviewed in detailed form.

A number of modernisation initiatives will enable the school comply with the new Primary School Reform more successfully. Our proposals include accommodating teachers in the former resting hall of the Open-air School during their allocated prep time, and converting the former head teacher’s house into a space for enjoying school meals under the new EAT scheme, complete with lounge. Extra-curricular subjects must be adapted to comply with the new School Reform, hence our recommendation for setting up a 1-on-1 leisure scheme as close to the school as possible, enabling shared facilities for school and leisure. In the basement beneath the east wing of the main building it will be possible to create approx. 280 new lockers for pupils as well as new toilet facilities. All buildings at both schools will be kept and restored with the emphasis on returning them to their original design where alterations have been added over time. With regard to the functionality of a modern school, this restoration will be interpretative in some cases. This equally applies to landscaping and vegetation features, so that the existing pavilions, erected in the 1980s, will be demolished and replaced by newbuild as well as reinstating the original school gardens.

« Back to projects