Danish architecture studio Henning Larsen has broken ground on The New School, a primary school in Sundby that will be the first in Denmark to be given a Nordic Ecolabel.
The school is located in the Guldborgsund Municipality in the south of Denmark and set to become the area's largest construction project.
It will be the first Danish primary school to be awarded the Nordic Ecolabel. This is the official sustainability certificate for the region and takes into account the project's energy consumption, indoor climate, chemical exposure and sustainable material use.
"We are making history within Danish school construction," the chairman of the Children, Family, and Education Committee of Guldborgsund Municipality, Simon Hansen, said.
"We have made a conscious, political choice to invest in sustainable construction, and our new school gets one of the finest quality stamps with the Nordic Ecolabel."
Designs for the two-storey school were first revealed last year and show a c-shaped structure that blends in with the surrounding landscape.
Its roof will meet the ground and merge into the terrain, forming a walkable green roof that can be accessed by the public at all times.
The school will incorporate a number of spaces that open up to the outside to take advantage of its proximity to nature.
A series of sports facilities, music rooms, a library and large teaching spaces have also been included in the design, which Henning Larsen created in partnership with SKALA Architects, ETN Architects, MOE, Autens and BO-HUS.
The school's interior spaces can be changed, reorganised and relocated to suit its needs.
Henning Larsen also prepared the school for the possibility of future growth by creating a building structure that allows for an expansion from two to three storeys.
"We have designed a school that works in a field between learning and landscape," said Henning Larsen partner Eva Ravnborg.
"Where it is not just about the learning that takes place in the building, but the whole route to and from the school and the way the school will connect to the local community".
The New School is expected to open at the end of summer 2022 and will have the capacity for 100 employees and 580 students up to the age of 16.
Elsewhere, Henning Larsen is building a cluster of towers and timber buildings that will be blanketed in greenery in Seoul Valley and Copenhagen's "first all-timber neighbourhood."
The chairman of the Children, Family, and Education Committee of Guldborgsund Municipality, Simon Hansen, was joined by two students from nearby Sundskolen to take the project’s first shovel to the ground. “We write Danish history within school construction. We have made a conscious, political choice to invest in sustainable construction, and our new school gets one of the finest quality stamps with the Nordic Ecolabel,” said Hansen.
The project set out with ambitious goals for not only sustainability parameters, but its potential for local learning and community engagement. The school is designed to meet the UN World Language School requirements for teaching facilities that support the UN Sustainable Development goals through both physical design and teaching curriculum. In addition to creating robust classroom spaces, particular attention was paid to spaces outside the traditional learning environment. “We have designed a school that works in a field between learning and landscape, and where it is not just about the learning that takes place in the building, but the whole route to and from the school and the way the school will connect to the local community," explained Eva Ravnborg, Partner at Henning Larsen.
The school is expected to open at the end of summer 2022 for approximately 580 students up to grade 9 and is eagerly anticipated in the Sundby community. “It will in every way be a completely unique school and a common house in the local area for the benefit of all citizens in the local community,” says Morten Janik, chairman of the school board. With construction now underway, the school will soon be available as an anchor point for the local community and a global example for progressive teaching environments.