School building connects city and harbour

Students doing their higher preparatory course (HF) in Odense on the island of Funen, Denmark, have a new learning environment with views of the harbour. The school building is a splendid example of how an elegant connection can be created between urban and harbour areas using a combination of raw and warm elements.

Troldtekt acoustic ceilings in school buildings
Photo: Kirstine Mengel

The new building was designed by ZENI arkitekter to meet the City of Odense’s desire for a stronger connection between the city centre and the harbour. The building is sited on a green wedge that slopes towards the harbourfront and forms the basis of the building’s shape, which resembles the bow of a ship.

The front of the building affords views of all four floors of the building and the large south-facing terraces connecting the different levels with the surrounding green areas. The stairs also lead up to the rooftop terrace, which boasts both an orangery and an observatory.

Raw materials with a good indoor climate

Consisting of grey concrete and rust-coloured corten steel, the raw and striking façade of the building stands out from the pale neighbouring buildings – including the school’s sister institute, VUC, only a few years its senior.

The façade is clad with green oases and perforated patterns, which throw a patterned light through the large floor-to-ceiling windows during the day and project light patterns on to the street at night.

The choice of raw materials is repeated inside, but interspersed with warm wooden elements, such as the interior staircase and the Troldtekt acoustic panels that have been installed on all the ceilings.

Interesting light and pleasant vibe

FYNS HF was one of five projects nominated for the prestigious School Building of the Year 2019 award. The jury said about the nomination:

– The building is an appealing experience – inside and out. Indoors, the walls are clad with oak, which creates an interesting light and a pleasant ambiance, and the school draws on shapes and symbols from the classic school design of arranging classrooms around a central common space. The feeling created is one of recognisability and togetherness, which also strengthens relations between classes.