Status: Idea 2010
Location: Frederiksberg, Denmark
Client: Falkonérgården Gymnasium
Through this competition, Falconergården Gymnasium hoped to find a way to add a new sports hall suitable for competition in addition to six new classrooms, while respecting the existing historical architecture. The school is home to high level competitors in 29 different sports disciplines, and it is imperative that the school’s facilities accomodate organized competitions as well as adequate training opportunities. Besides the relationship to the existing buildings, the actual area requirements of such an addition are made difficult by the limited size of the site.
There are really only two possible locations for such a building: in place of the only green court on the site, or in place of an existing house that bounds the main paved courtyard. It would be a shame to replace what is potentially the only green space for the entire school, especially when that school has a strong focus on athletics, so it was decided to replace the existing house instead.
The house is currently used for the arts, however the makeshift spaces inside do not satisfy the department’s needs, as it was originally used as a residence. By reorganizing several of the other spaces through the other buildings, we were able to replace and improve the offices and functions of the replaced house, which provided ample space for a suitable sports hall.
Another advantage of placing the new sports hall on one side of the hard courtyard is its potential relationship to the current heart of the school. There is a cafeteria with a sunken courtyard, which is the primary place for students to spend their free time. It is possible to relate to those spaces by sinking the new sports hall into the ground.
In creating that direct link between the two main social spaces, the space between becomes activated, and the mass of the sunken hall starts to relate to the scale of the surrounding buildings as well. The new sports hall is also linked underground to an existing stair that serves one of the existing gyms at the school, where the locker rooms are currently located.
While the sports hall is sunk into the ground, the new classrooms, which are attached to the hall and oriented towards the courtyard, are still accessed from the ground level. This is an important accessibility condition, because it allows everyone to reach each level of the building and courtyard, despite the steps that span between the two exterior levels.
The circulation spaces of the two classroom levels connects to a mezzanine running around the entire court, providing additional seating for different events. The mezzanine level also has small flex spaces that can be used for group work or studying. There is a layer of thin wood slats that create a sort of shell between the education areas and the competition area, which filters light from the skylights and other exterior windows.
Most of the exterior cladding is heavy and solid, reflecting the intricate brickwork of the context. It is also an important response to the Nordic climate. The classrooms are fairly open, with large windows, but much of the rest of the facade is closed, to prevent too much sunlight from disrupting the competitions happening within the sports hall.