Earlier this year the Danish Dorte Mandrup Architects realised the extension of the Bordings Independent School close to the beautiful lakes of Østerbro in Copenhagen.
Here is what the architects explain:
The site and surroundings
The existing buildings of Bordings Independent School are beautifully situated by the lakes in Copenhagen. The main building is set back from the road, and the façade towards the lakes is primarily shaped by the new building, the gym and the gates toward the two courts of the school.
The school is situated between two urban structures, the traditional block-structure with 4-5 storey buildings and the close and intimate structure of the row houses “Kartoffelrækkerne”.
The façade facing the lakes is characterized by the alternation between the block structure and the row house structure, the expression is diverse and green.
The urban main idea is to create a building that expresses the transition between the larger scale of the block-structure and the smaller and more intimate scale of the row houses. Despite the site’s location in the extension of the traditional block and to emphasize the transition to a smaller scale, the building is located as a separate element between the two scale steps.
Through a shift in the main volume of the façade, the building is cut away from the existing building, and thereby is perceived as a separated yet harmonious part of the façade as a whole.
The composition of the new building is sculptural as opposed to the surface composition of the block to enhance the depth in the transition from the street façade to the school courtyard behind.
The new building is formed to ensure a large degree of flexibility, so the use of the inner spaces can change over time.
The building consists of three elements: the imprint into the ground, the volume and the screen
An area larger than the footprint of the building is excavated creating a courtyard-area below the existing courtyard. This opens the lower façade to the light, and creates an extra outer space in relation to the basement.
The concrete slabs are carried by the facades parallel to the existing neighbouring building. This creates a maximum of flexibility without carrying pillars or dividing walls. Towards east and west the facades are fully glazed for a maximum of light transmission. The carrying facades are done in recycled bricks from the building that was demolished from the site. The tradition of the pupils being allowed to do an inscription in a brick is thereby carried on into the new building and the future of the school.
The screen is done in perforated Corten Steel. It is folded around the corner and the new balcony to create a façade parallel to the façade of the existing gym. The difference between the façade line and the rectangle of the volume creates a depth in the façade that diffuses and brings warmth to the light before entering the building. The screen thus works as a sunscreen as well as a visual screen towards the street. Finally cuts in the screen frames specific views towards the lake.
The building is entered from the big excavated staircase towards east and from the two steel staircases towards east and west.
The basement houses the music classes for amplified music, a small recording studio and storage. The music classroom can be opened through a large sliding door towards the outside space and the large staircase that can serve as seating for an audience on summer nights.
The ground floor consists of one large room serving primarily as classroom for music classes for acoustical instruments and at the same time as a gathering hall for the daily gatherings and special events for the whole school. Toilet, wardrobe and storage are placed in a zone towards the existing neighbouring building.
The first floor also consists of one room for the art and crafts classes. In the corner, and in open connection to the primary room, large sinks and steel tables are placed in a niche. The storage zone is again placed towards the existing neighbour.
Materials and construction
The house is built as a simple concrete structure with an outer brick façade in recycled bricks. The screen is done in perforated corten steel sheets. Both materials patinate beautifully and need no maintenance.
The facades are done in oil treated hardwood frames with outside mullions of painted aluminium.
The basements walls inside and out are done in on-site cast concrete. The upper staircases are done in painted steel. The floors are done in linoleum.