The European School
NORD Architects and Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects took on the project for the European School in the ‘Carlsberg City’ of Denmark after winning with the constructor BAM Denmark and EKJ Engineers against four other teams. The school is built at the historic Carlsberg sites and recently opened its doors to around 900 students with international background.
The European School promotes modern learning landscapes whilst merging school and city together through open and public spaces. The school has a multicultural reach, which is supported by the city of Copenhagen and distinguished Danish international companies. The international perspective of the school is embedded in the local district of Carlsberg City with several architectural landmarks and a long history of industrial brewery site. The cross-over relation between the school and the city becomes a ‘win-win situation’ where spaces, functions and square metres are shared, which in turn, creates a social sustainable utilisation of valuable urban areas.
The build took almost three and a half years as Morten Gregersen, partner and architect at NORD Architects, commented:
“We were asked to build a school for international students and it was very important to the client that it is built in a historic context. We found a way to implement the programme in this dense area that was going to be developed continuously over the next five, ten years. The European school is an interesting project in many ways, and an essential component in a city area with many office buildings and housing. The history of The Carlsberg Company is present at this old brewery site that is now being converted into a common working district of the city with a lot of heritage buildings.”
The historic surroundings set the outline of the new school between the existing building mass and the site is an attractive neighbourhood featuring outstanding and storytelling architecture, reflecting a fascination of decorative brickwork.
Morten explained the challenge of building a structure so close to other building mass, especially on a heritage site:
“It is a quite unique location where you have old buildings next to new ones. The European School building is very close to the iconic main gates of Carlsberg, ‘The Elephant gateway’ for example. So in this context the building needed more detailing in classical means to make it standout. The playground areas around the school and on the roof of the sports facility is also a special feature of the building and site. It creates urban spaces that melt together. “
The school’s learning spaces are centred around the structure of ‘learning stairs’ that run vertically through the five floors and unite all classes and year groups. They’re multifunctional recreational spaces as well as teaching ones for smaller groups of students.
“The idea of building an international school comes from The Danish Industry Foundation; they see the necessity to attract foreign workers and researchers to Copenhagen and
they wanted a unique international school to attract knowledge and people from abroad. It was really interesting to design this kind of public building with as much Danish as international character.”
The European School Copenhagen, Carlsberg City
The European School Copenhagen is the first public, international school in Denmark. The school offers a multicultural and multilingual education for the 900 students attending nursery, primary and secondary school. Everyone can seek admission and the school is part of the Danish welfare system and free of charge. The school is financed by the City of Copenhagen, Realdania, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Nordea Foundation of The Danish Industry Foundation.