Newly built primary school with a focus on 'the small school within the school'
Frederiksværk School in Denmark combines pupils’ needs for smaller units with maintenance-free materials and a healthy indoor climate. Kjaer & Richter designed the school with Troldtekt ceilings in natural wood.
Halsnæs Municipality (Denmark) has made the largest capital investment in the municipality’s history with DKK 133 million for a new primary school, Frederiksværk School. The old school building in Frederiksværk was run-down, and the cost of renovation was on a par with building a whole new school. So the choice was made to build a new primary school that meets today’s requirements and standards.
The Frederiksværk School was designed by Kjaer & Richter and completed at the beginning of 2023. It was also among the nominees for the School Building of the Year 2023 award.
The school building spans 6,650 square metres and accommodates pupils from grades 0–9, divided into two tracks, as well as a multi-purpose hall, integrated after-school institution and club.
"Architecturally, the school’s spatial organisation, coherence and proximity are a great strength. Whereas the facilities and classrooms were more detached in the old school, the new school brings all functions together in one building. This proximity means that the workshop facilities and premises can be utilised to a much greater extent in all subjects and support practice-oriented teaching both indoors and out," says Malene Drasbek, architect MAA, project architect and technical manager for Pedagogy and Learning at Kjaer & Richter.
School on a large and small scale
Malene Drasbek explains that one of the design considerations for Frederiksværk School was to give the pupils a stronger sense of belonging to the place they spend many hours of the day in.
That is why Kjaer & Richter focused on creating 'the small school within the school', where students can clearly interpret the three academic level areas: preschool, middle and secondary school. Each academic level area has its own entrance and communal area with direct access to their basic classrooms, specialist rooms and workshops.
"The academic level areas function as smaller units and are scaled and spatially adapted to support the need for clarity, security and opportunities for the respective age groups," says Malene Drasbek.
The common square in the centre of the building is the school's central hub:
"The common square creates a smooth transition from the public zone with outward-looking and interdisciplinary activities to the more secluded learning environments. As a unifying space, the square connects the academic level areas in a natural flow, where the building’s users meet across different ages and professional levels.
Frederiksværk School is also intended as a local powerhouse, opening up to the local community with various activities.