Bjarke Ingels Redesigns His Old High School

Located just north of Copenhagen, the Gammel Hellerup High School has one of the coolest campuses in the world. It’s all thanks to the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the architecture firm that last year helped the school construct an underground gym, the roof of which doubled as an undulating outdoor student hangout. We loved it so much we made the Multi-Purpose Hall a finalist for our 2014 Innovation By Design Awards.

But that was just Phase I. Today, BIG announced that it has completed its work at Hellerup High School with a couple of new additions: a new arts building, which connects to the gymnasium in a continuous flow of wood paneling, concrete, and light. The arts building contains classrooms and a cafeteria, and like the multi-purpose hall, it has a roof that does double duty as a student hangout. The roof extends the school’s existing football field into a green carpeted hill that students can lounge upon, socializing with each other or watching a game.

To execute the new arts building, BIG reversed the materials it used in the multi-purpose hall; whereas the hall was made of concrete with wooden finishes, the classrooms have wooden walls that span the length of the building, and they’re complemented by concrete ceilings and floors. The continuity and repetition of materials creates a coherent visual identity for the school. The finished building is 15,000 square feet, and as the video above proves, the curves of the walls are so natural and organic, you can do parkour off them.

BIG didn’t work on the Gammel Hellerup High School expansion randomly: Founder Bjarke Ingels actually used to go to school there. None of us can go back to our high school days, but with this expansion, it seems Ingels has done the next best thing.JB