College in Copenhagen
Acoustics consultant Frederik Wiuff helped choose surfaces and finishes to dampen sound, such as acoustic plaster on the walls, and specially absorbing acoustic "Dampa" ceiling panels — locally produced perforated, modular panels with acoustic felt. Wiuff also used an acoustic flooring product to absorb sound; the flooring is disconnected under the walls and in the doorways to prevent noise transfer between spaces.
Fire regulations also make it difficult for schools to be as open and transparent as at Ørestad. "The fire strategy is similar to the one in shopping malls or concert halls, which also accommodate many people at the same place," Nielsen explains. With the fire exits placed in the three mega-columns, everybody is able to exit the building within the specified time. Also, in the event of a fire, rooftop windows will open automatically and draw smoke up and out.
School of the Future?
In a building designed for 800 students, the student body has swelled to 1,200 since the school's 2007 opening. By the end of 2009, the school hopes to complete the as yet underused roof terrace, where the botany laboratory intends to create a vegetated roof. An elementary school currently being designed for an adjacent site will house a library for the two facilities to share.
Ørestad College is a dynamic project, where all parties continue to learn and adapt their teaching and learning styles to new ways of thinking and using space. It's an inspiring example for architects and educators, showing that, with a willing client, a new model of educational facility design can be realized, on time and on budget.
Terri Peters is a writer and designer based in Copenhagen and London. More by Terri Peters
Project: Ørestad College, Copenhagen, Denmark
Engineer: Søren Jensen A/S
Acoustics: Frederik Wiuff
Advisor: Helle Mathiasen, Ph.D. candidate in education
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