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The School on the Terraces by Henning Larsen Architects

06/01/2013 By Chris Olson
Renderings courtesy of Henning Larsen

Organized in four clusters and resembling a four-leaf clover, this new school in Aarhus, Denmark will incorporate outside terraces as open workshops, providing settings for learning on both the inside and outside of the building. Daylight, human scale and dynamic spaces promise to be key elements, and the program for the 15,000-square-meter primary school will include after-school activities and daycare.

Each cluster features a small common square with niches, reading hammocks, mobile workshops and multi-purpose furniture. The clusters connect to the school’s three atriums. Large stairs in the atriums serve as common gathering points across clusters and create a sense of light, openness and activity.

The design concept has focused on minimizing energy consumption. The school will meet the energy requirements of the 2020 Danish building code, a goal achieved by taking an integrated energy design approach. A variety of measures have been incorporated, including a well-insulated building envelope with a heat loss factor that exceeds the 2020 energy code requirements by 50 percent. All of the materials and products specified for the project will be selected on the basis of life-span, quality, operation and maintenance.

The design team also put a heavy emphasis on indoor air quality, reflecting the growing body of research showing that children learn more in a good indoor climate. As a result, the school incorporates a number of passive features to provide students and teachers with a healthy working environment, including proper building orientation, material selection and the positioning of windows.

The School on the Terraces promises to be both a unique learning environment and an attractive place in Aarhus that creates an informal breathing space for citizens. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016. For more information, please visit