When it came time to renovate, Nordseter skole key focus was creating an optimal learning environment for both teachers and students. Through effective utilisation of space, functional furnishings and mindful colour choices, inspiring settings that encourage different types of learning have been created.
In the district of Nordstrand in Oslo, Enerhaugen Arkitekter and interior designers from Zinc have created a colourful school where consideration for students, climate-friendly solutions and functionality have shaped the learning environments of the future. It accommodates 1,100 students from the first to the tenth grade. The building housing the lower secondary students was originally completed in the 1960s and has now undergone extensive renovation to meet the needs of a modern school. Input interior was responsible for procurement, delivered the interior furnishings and implemented the architects’ and the school’s collective vision.
Light environments and mindful choice of colours
The school’s enclosed corridors and rooms have been opened up, and the light new premises provide a good overview and orientation, promoting spontaneous interaction between students. All classrooms have been given large windows that make the most of the ceiling height and let in maximum natural light, helping to ensure a good work environment. The glass walls between classrooms and corridors also allow natural light through to the core of the building, the school sports hall.
Zinc and Enerhaugen Arkitekter jointly developed a general material and colour concept for the whole school to avoid any colourless areas.
“The walls of the stairwells featuring large asymmetrical fields add character and create an attractive colour effect. Warm red hues have been used in the sports hall to encourage activity and spread warmth to the surrounding building. The rooms around the outer edge of the building, closest to the façade, feature green and blue shades to create a calm environment for teaching, creative work and concentration,” says Marte Leinæs Torneby, supervising interior designer from Zinc. Tone Bergstrøm, representing Undervisningsbygg, continues:
“The school feels warm, and it’s great to have incorporated so much colour. The results reflect excellent cohesion between building and interior and at the same time demonstrate good teamwork between the interior designers, Input interior, the school and the clients.”
A functional and flexible interior
In order to promote multiple forms of learning, the project caters for flexibility and choice. Initially, trial furnishing options were tried out in selected classrooms to see how the students liked the different proposals, and this resulted in flexible interior furnishings that cater for students on an individual level. Quite simply, they can choose the workplace best suited to the task in hand – perhaps sitting at a desk, a circle discussion with no table, or why not a yoga mat?
“Furniture that encourages mobility and is ergonomically de-signed helps to stimulate the brain and makes students more receptive to learning,” says Norleif Vegsund, Project and Product Manager (Education) at Input interior in Norway.
The group rooms are also designed to promote different forms of learning and encourage daily mobility among students.
“The combination of varied seating, tables and furniture creates peace and quiet for working and brings natural variation to everyday activities. One of the group rooms also has a custom-built tiered stage that serves as both storage and seating for students,” says Marte Leinæs Torneby.
Interaction and a sense of community
The first floor houses handicraft rooms, a sports hall, group rooms and an assembly hall. The assembly hall is the school’s meeting place, with roomy, custom-built sofas and plenty of seating, creating a natural space with a community feel for social activities and gatherings.
The new school is characterised by sustainable choices, with architecture, materials and interior design that will stand the test of time. Integrated solar panels have been installed on the school’s roof and façade and will cover approximately 25 per cent of the building’s energy needs. The inside boasts similar investment in smart solutions. All teaching areas feature decorative acoustic panels made from wool in a variety of colours that help to reduce noise levels, while also serving as notice boards for displaying schoolwork.