The international architecture firm completes a spacious expansion for a Danish high school
In 2013, Bjarke Ingels Group completed a multi-purpose hall for the Gammel Hellerup High School located just north of Copenhagen, Denmark. Two years later, the architecture firm has finished a 1400-square-meter cultural and athletic events space for the very same institution.
Due to a rapidly increasing student population, the original gymnasium was no longer sufficient, so BIG was called upon to expand the campus with larger athletic facilities and a new arts building.
Rather than build up, the architects decided to go underground and placed the new sports hall 16.5 meters below the school’s central courtyard. Thanks to its sunken location, the hall’s temperature is naturally regulated and takes up no extra room above ground. Only the curved roof (which was calculated to replicate the arc of a handball being thrown) rises above the surface. The gentle wave in the courtyard becomes a unique landscape dotted with a large circular bench and mushroom-like seats that encourage informal social interactions between the students. Small windows perforate the roof, letting daylight penetrate the sports hall below.
During the construction of the sports hall, the school also decided to add a new arts building that would connect the sports hall to the other athletic facilities. Part of the new arts building is event located beneath the adjacent football field whose grassy plain becomes an extension of the building by curving upwards to become the building’s roof. The green roof also creates a casual seating area for watching athletic events.
The new additions were designed to flow into one another and create a connected campus that is an accessible and unique place for learning.