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Back to School: An Unorthodox Campus in Denmark

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Back to School: An Unorthodox Campus in Denmark

September 3, 2012

An alternative school in Denmark gets a fittingly unorthodox renovation.

The democratically run Bernadotte School (Bernadotteskolen in Danish) was founded in 1949 by a group of parents aiming to “break away from the rigidity and authoritarianism of traditional schooling.” Located just outside Copenhagen, the school has grown to fill a motley campus of seven buildings, all originally intended for other purposes. The school takes pride in having packed its disparate buildings with usable space for reading, learning, art, and play; indeed, the architectural diversity “the perfect metaphor for its teaching.” When an addition was finally in order, Danish architects Tegnestuen Vandkunsten created a fittingly distinct modern structure full of adaptable space for the growing school.

Photography by Adam Mørk.

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Above: In their sun-splattered new gym, kids recline against a wooden plank wall offset for hidden storage.

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Above: The school gym, clearly designed with children’s energy levels in mind.

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Above: The gym is designed to accommodate a variety of playtime pursuits, including running, climbing, and swinging from the ceiling.

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Above: Colorful pennant flags add childlike whimsy to the otherwise sophisticated architecture.

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Above: The slim addition yielded new classrooms, a library, gym, roof terrace, and central playground.

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Above: Stainless steel wires intersect on exterior walls as a structure for newly planted climbing vines.

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Above: The architects provided a bounty of geometric visual interest, from crisscrossing wires on exterior walls to playing with changes of light throughout the day.

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Above: The wood and steel building will soon be covered in climbing vines.

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Above: The main school building, at left, is a former fire station. On the right, a former gas station and apartment home.

Looking for more inspiration? See 197 images of Children’s Spaces in our new Gallery of Rooms and Spaces.

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