Arkitema - Erlev School, where pupils always have direct access to outdoor areas
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Erlev School, where pupils always have direct access to outdoor areas


Education  /  Completed

From the tender documents, it was clear to the architects that the preliminary work had included a high degree of user involvement. Consequently, the team decided to prepare an entry that would provide a fixed framework with clusters aimed at each year group, while keeping the plan open to allow future users to be involved in the final planning of the school layout. The result was a very tight grid structure where the future users – teachers and social educators – contributed to developing some of the pieces in the areas for which they were responsible via a board game. Therefore, the overall school structure is very identifiable, allowing for different learning universes in each cluster. This means that teachers and social educators take ownership of their clusters.

Erlev School uses its open architecture and transparent façades, new urban spaces, and playful natural landscape to integrate itself in the town and invite locals into the school and its surroundings. Thanks to the school layout, pupils always have direct access to outdoor areas around the entire building, which is encircled by an activity course. The 400 m perfectly round course binds all clusters together on the outside and provides the outdoor environment with incorporated activities for both pupils and locals alike. Small paths join the near outdoor areas in an undulating terrain that offers covered areas, weather porches, wide open spaces, green areas, and a new rainwater drainage lake used for educational purposes as well.

Erlev School features a 100 per cent glulam structure, wood-wool concrete and pine ceilings and wall cladding, interior elements in pine plywood, and a façade clad with the special, extra durable, engineered tree type Accoya. A conscious decision was made to have all exterior façade cladding, wooden window elements and all interior materials made of sustainable, engineered wood since this would support the wish for a welcoming, open school that clearly reflects the playing, learning and sensuousness that Erlev School set out to achieve. The scent, feel and sound of timber foster a vibrant and creative environment that contributes to warm surfaces piquing the eye. At the same time, the use of timber leads to a friendly and welcoming design that appears beautiful and robust

With a load-bearing timber structure, Erlev School is one of the first timber schools in modern-day Denmark. Architecturally, Erlev School is in a league by itself and is a school with strong ambitions. The vision was to create a playful school that fits 21st century learning competencies and that revolves around, e.g., innovation, communication, and cooperation. The project ranks high in terms of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. In many ways, the school is unique in its existence and architecture. As regards indoor and outdoor areas, many of the choices that were made aim to create the settings for creative and innovative learning, since the school is dedicated to promoting activity-based learning based on the idea that children learn best through playing.

Erlev School practises year-based teaching, which means that some 50-75 pupils (corresponding to three classes) make up a year cluster, sharing facilities that support activity-based learning as well as a permanent team of teachers and social educators. To support this didactic mindset and perspectives on learning, the interior architecture was designed as a series of differentiated open, closed and transparent learning spaces fitted with acoustic panels. From the central heart of the school, branches extend to various learning universes that are naturally connected across year groups. In that way, pupils are introduced to learning in a wide variety of exciting and challenging environments.

This building can do something in terms of pedagogy, it can do something inclusive and inclusive in more than one sense. We have really succeeded in achieving what we wanted – to create the best possible learning spaces for the children. The choice of materials helps to create peace in body and mind. We have gotten a school with pretty much exactly what we looked for. And that's due to a thorough collaboration which took time but was of great, great value Principal, K. Jessen


 Haderslev Municipality
 Educational, ground school
 5800 mq
 Pernille Svendsen, Mads Ellemose Sørensen and others
 Ommen A/S


Arkitema is a Danish architectural firm that specializes in the design and planning of buildings and urban spaces. The company was founded in 1969 and has since grown to become one of the leading architectural practices in Scandinavia. Arkitema offers a wide range of architectural services, including concept development, master planning, and sustainable design solutions.
The firm has expertise in various building typologies, including residential buildings, commercial complexes, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and urban regeneration projects.
Arkitema collaborates closely with clients, stakeholders, and other professionals to create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces that meet the needs of the users and contribute positively to the surrounding environment. Their design approach is characterized by a focus on user experience, contextual integration, and a strong commitment to sustainability.


#Mentioned #Denmark  #Wood  #Education  #Wood Cladding  #Wood Structure  #Glulam  #Haderslev  #Wood façade  #Education facility  #Arkitema 

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