Fluid boundaries and dynamic environment

‘Vrå Børne- og Kulturhus’ stands out for its welcoming and DGNB Gold-certified architecture

Experimentation is all the rage among architects designing new schools and childcare institutions in Denmark. However, at the moment there seems to be a clear preference for using wood as the dominant material. For the main structures, the facades and for sound dampening.

Vrå Børne- og Kulturhus is a stunning example of this trend. The building is a brand new place where people can come together in the town of Vrå in northern Jutland, where the boundaries between learning, culture, sport, movement and leisure are fluid, and where everyone, regardless of age and interests, is welcome.

AART architects and JAJA Architects collaborated on the project. According to them, the architecture is inspired by nature and the forest, and wood is therefore a key and very characterful element both inside and out.

Vrå Børne- og Kulturhus is integrated with the sports centre Idrætscenter Vendsyssel. Structurally, the school comprises separate wings arranged around the communal ‘heart’ of the complex. Like a central square, the space connects the landscape, the entrance area and the clusters with the sports hall, the library, the childcare facility, the specialist subject classrooms and the year groups in an open and impressive design.

Differentiated acoustics

Riis Akustik in Holbæk, Zealand, acted as acoustics consultants, and the company’s owner, Claus Riis, says:

“From the outset we were in close dialogue with users to ensure that the acoustic regulation was aligned with the expected use while at the same time meeting the overall requirements of the national building regulations. The communal ‘heart’ connecting the four wings was the most acoustically challenging space, as it needs to function as an open communal room while also being used for teaching activities around the main staircase. In addition, parts of the open room also had to be suitable for group work.

Cement-bonded wood wool was the obvious choice as it meets the considerable sound absorption needs as well as fulfilling the desire for a natural, warm look, where wood also plays a key role, both inside and out.

The result is an air of warmth and calm with appropriately dampened acoustics. Acoustic measurements in the finished building showed that we achieved the desired acoustic quality.”

Vrå Børne- og Kulturhus has achieved DGNB Gold certification.

In addition to the school, the complex includes a sports hall, kindergarten, nursery, library and youth club.

Troldtekt acoustic panels in natural wood with an ultrafine structure have been installed throughout. The sports hall features charcoal grey panels on both the walls and ceiling, while in the communal ‘heart’ of the building, Troldtekt Plus acoustic panels have been installed.