The sound of well-being

It strikes you the moment you walk through the doors at the school Søndervangskolen. The very special atmosphere, which is clearly reflected in the children’s happy faces. You are met with big smiles and by dedicated teachers who do not need to raise their voices to make themselves heard.

Ten years ago, Søndervangskolen was one of the worst-performing schools in Denmark in terms of grade point averages and general well-being. It was a run-down school in a deprived residential area, a school which parents moved their children from if given half the chance. This development has been slowly turned after targeted efforts and a visionary strategy, which included very close cooperation between the school and the parents.

A successful turnaround

Today, Søndervangskolen is a textbook example of a well-functioning multicultural school, which in 2017 received a visit from the Danish prime minister at the time, Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

The school has been refurbished by Friis & Moltke Architects, and SMAK Architects have designed the 1.2-kilometre-long ‘exercise path’, which runs along corridors throughout the school. The exercise path is part of Skole+, a campaign designed to encourage the use of indoor school facilities for sport and exercise, and with its various activity zones, the path aims to make exercise and play an integrated part of teaching at the school.

The classrooms and other learning spaces have been given flexible designs that support differentiated teaching. In addition to their shared facilities, Years 4-6 have six basic classrooms of varying sizes and coding.

Throughout the school, the acoustics have been given a high priority, and the Troldtekt acoustic panels ceilings ensure a comfortable acoustic environment despite all the activity in the corridors. Climbing ropes and playground equipment have been installed in special box rooms, featuring coloured acoustic panels in black, green, red and yellow. At Søndervangskolen, learning and play are mutually supportive.

Facts

Project:
Renovation of Søndervangskolen in Viby J near Aarhus, Denmark
Architects:
Friis & Moltke Architects, SMAK Architects and Grethe Sandholm
Client:
City of Aarhus
Troldtekt Products
Ceiling and wall panels:
Troldtekt acoustic panels
Colour:
Natural wood & custom colours in black, green, red and yellow
Structure:
Ultrafine (1.0 mm wood wool)
Edge design:
5 mm bevelled edges, K5
Installation:
With Troldtekt screws and C-60 profile system
Text & Photos
Text:
Thomas Mølvig, architect
Photos:
Thomas Mølvig, architect