Frederiksbjerg School: The Dynamic Learning
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Frederiksbjerg School: The Dynamic Learning

Posted on June 13, 2018 by content

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Frederiksbjerg School is the first new-built school located in the center of Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, in approximately 100 years.

The new school, which also houses a daycare facility and a youth club, is built on the site of a former school, Sct. Annagades School. For decades Sct. Annagades School was a well-established gathering place for the local community. This led to a vision of the new school building supporting the old remembrance.

The school is dedicated to the youth and children of the local area. It aims to give children as well as adults an ideal environment for relaxing and learning. In the design of the building, the architectural focus lies in numerous spatial qualities such as daylight and materials creating an environment which invites learning through movement and sense perception.

The building follows Aarhus City Council’s program for new learning environments in schools and public institutions. The program focuses on a merge between the building’s organization and educational practice and purpose, which research proves has an immense impact on children’s learning.

Design concept

Frederiksberg School is organized around a center atrium where clusters of the building meet and join together. Shared practical rooms, laboratories and learning kitchens are connected with the atrium. When you move through the building from the main entrance, you start at the open center atrium through the smaller shared areas to the small classrooms and group rooms in the clusters. This structure is repeated on all three floors.

The daycare, the youngest children and the administration are placed on the ground floor and first floors, the middle grades students are on the second floor and the oldest students are on the third floor.

The students and the teachers meet in the atrium, which is the vertical open connection between the floors. This targets the goal of strengthening the visual and physical connection between students and teachers.

The clusters are built around a shared center room, encouraging various activities and study areas. The activity areas are used to focus on learning through movement and play. These areas are specifically tailored to the different age groups and levels of understanding and motion. The study areas are built as small niches, which create quiet rooms for individual study.

The classrooms are located in the clusters of the building and each classroom has its own group room, which can be accessed from both classrooms and from shared areas. The classrooms are arranged to support different learning phases. A staircase used as benches and a projector make up the area intended for presentations and introductions. The tables and chairs can be moved around, thus enabling the students to study in groups or separately. The window sills are made for quiet study or breakout spaces, where students can overlook the school’s terraces and the surrounding city.

Outside school hours, the classrooms, playing fields and sports halls are open to the public and the local sporting associations.

Context and surroundings

The school is located in the Frederiksbjerg district in the southern part of central Aarhus. The district is mostly characterized by four- to six-story blocks in red brick. In the area around the new school there are many public institutions and activities, e.g., a swimming stadium, a street market and a large playground.

The main entrance sits on the corner of two historic streets and a cantilever is built in double height with concrete pillars that match the pillars in the atrium. Built along the boulevard is a big, south-facing staircase, often used as benches, which merges the school with its surroundings.

The school shares public playgrou