No. 446 . 30 September 2009 
ArchitectureWeek
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College in Copenhagen

by Terri Peters

At Ørestad College in Copenhagen, layered spaces curve and dance inside a simple, well-clad box.

Designed by Danish architects 3XN, the experimental secondary school in Denmark seems to embody many things that a school typically isn't.

Gleaming white inside, with a four-story atrium that extends from the public cafe to the roof terrace, the building is airy, full of natural light, and acoustically regulated. Unlike most schools, Ørestad College is spatially complex, with an undulating circulation element that unfolds throughout the building.

The open space gives a sense of calm minimalism, and when it is empty and quiet, it seems more like the new headquarters for a creative industry rather than a high school.

Public Space, Open Place

The building stands along the canal and skytrain line in the developing Ørestad neighborhood south of Copenhagen's old town, near the new Copenhagen Concert Hall by Jean Nouvel, the mixed-use hotel development master-planned by Daniel Libeskind, and a host of experimental housing projects from firms such as BIG and Henning Larsen.

The school stands out due to its striking facade, with colorful vertical louvers that look rather like books on a bookshelf. The louvers provide solar shading and help break down the large scale of the nearly all-glazed building.   >>>

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