Rødkilde Gymnasium – a school where students have left their mark

The Rødkilde Gymnasium project in Denmark began in 2008 when RUM Arkitektur won a turnkey contract that included both the renovation and expansion of the school. The project included a new copper-clad sports hall that adds a distinctive and characteristic architectural motif to the diverse and renowned architecture in the area. The extension and new building supports the structure and architectural qualities of the existing buildings while also helping to make the complex more compact. This encourages interaction between teachers, students and lessons, facilitating the optimal sharing of knowledge. The new courtyard serves as the school’s social centre – a logistical and communal hub for learning and relaxing. The original school building was converted into a new science centre that includes laboratories, preparation rooms and an auditorium. The new facilities provide an optimal setting for the contemporary and experimental teaching of science subjects.

The latest expansion project began in 2014 in response to the need for additional capacity. In addition to providing more classrooms, the expansion has helped increase canteen sales and created improved staff facilities. The expansion project includes a modern learning environment on two floors, as well as bicycle parking facilities in a high basement. It also adds “spaces between rooms” in the form of new multifunctional areas between the classrooms to relax the formerly rigid space and time structures in the school building. The design took into account the school's strong focus on climate technology initiatives by incorporating geothermal pile foundations, solar panels, natural ventilation and a system for reusing roof water for flushing toilets.

“The original idea was to use copper cladding for the façade of the new school building as used on the sports hall. However, this solution proved to be too expensive, so we began to look at alternatives. We eventually chose graphic concrete as proposed by local supplier Confac. Since the original school building was clad with exposed concrete, using concrete again was a natural choice. The idea was to combine modern characteristics and features with the original material. During the design process we visited several projects that incorporated graphic concrete to explore the possibilities further”, describes architect in charge, Anders Johanssen.

After selecting the implementation method, the pattern practically created itself. To enhance the attachment of students and transform the building into “their own house”, we decided to allow everyone who attends the school and teaches there to leave their mark on the façade. The students in particular were enthusiastic about writing statements, formulas and texts, which our office then assembled into a graphic surface”, Johanssen continues

The result fully lived up to our expectations. The building has been given its own unique appearance while blending in with the rest of the school. The level of detail is excellent and very precisely executed. We have yet to find any typos! Before delivery the façade elements were surface treated – whether this was really necessary remains to be seen. It will be interesting to monitor the patina over the years”, concludes Johanssen

Architect: RUM Arkitektur
Design/Graphics: RUM Arkitektur
Builder: Nisgaard & Christoffersen
Prefabrication: Confac A/S
Construction year: 2014
Product: Unique pattern