Page D4.1 . 18 November 2009                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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    College in Copenhagen

    by Terri Peters

    From the outside, Ørestad College in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a simple five-story cuboid. But the conventional exterior form conceals a radical open-plan interior.

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    Designed by Danish architects 3XN, the experimental secondary school seems to embody all kinds of 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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    ArchWeek Image

    Ørestad College, a new high school in Copenhagen, Denmark, was designed by 3XN.
    Photo: Adam Mørk Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The interior of Ørestad College is largely open, with several freestanding cylindrical rooms visible across an open central atrium.
    Photo: Adam Mørk Extra Large Image


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