Located among the fjords in the Faroese capital of Tórshavn, “Glasir” is a newly built educational center that combines three schools under one roof for over 1,750 students, faculty, and staff. BIG won the initial design competition with a team that included Fuglark Architects, Lemming & Eriksson, Sámal Johannesen, Martin E. Leo, and KJ Elrad.
The building's design is a topographical interpretation of the Faroe Islands' natural landscape, Bjarke Ingels describes. It's “a continuous terraced terrain with steps and staircases that connect across several levels and merge the multistory building into a single entity,” he adds.
At 19,200 m2, Glasir combines the Faroe Islands Gymnasium, Tórshavn Technical College, and the Business College of Faroe Islands. The design retains the individual identity of each school while providing appropriate spaces for collaboration and learning.
Students and teachers access the main entrance of the school from a dramatic bridge, due to the steep slope of the site, BIG describes. Topped by a large skylight above, a 32m-diameter indoor courtyard with terraced steps serves as an ideal gathering space for group meetings, social events, and dining.
Influenced by the needs of the students and teachers, the project is a stack of five separate levels that wrap around a central courtyard. Organized like a vortex with each level opening up, the building designates one level to each of the three schools, one level for food and faculty spaces, and one level for fitness activities and social gatherings. The top levels radiate about 30 meters out towards the mossy landscape.
The inner façades between the classrooms and courtyard feature colored glass to indicate the different functions within the building. The building's selection of materials create a neutral color palette for the school's sculptural design: the interior is clad with stone, cast concrete, and wood with different surface treatments, while glass and aluminum are used for the exterior.
“The exterior glass façades are mounted in a sawtooth shingle that allow the straight elements to form a soft circular shape and blend into the natural surroundings,” BIG describes. “Over time, grass planted on the rooftops will slowly grow to allow the education center to disappear into the Faroese landscape.“
Find more photos and drawings in the gallery below.
Size in m2: 19200
Project type: Competition
Client: Mentamalaradid (Ministry of Culture) / Landsverk
Collaborators: Fuglark, Lemming & Eriksson, Rosan Bosch, Samal Johannesen, Martin E. Leo SP/F, KJ Elrad Radgevandi Verkfroendingar
Location: Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
Partners-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Finn Nørkjær, Ole Elkjær Larsen
Project Architect: Høgni Laksáfoss
Team: Alberte Danvig, Alejandro Mata Gonzales, Alessio Valmori, Alexandre Carpentier, Annette Birthe Jensen, Armen Menendian, Athena Morella, Baptiste Blot, Boris Peianov, Camille Crepin, Claudio Moretti, Dag Præstegaard, Daniel Pihl, David Zahle, Edouard Boisse, Elisha Nathoo, Enea Michelesio, Eskild Nordbud, Ewelina Moszczynska, Frederik Lyng, Goda Luksaite, Henrik Kania, Høgni Laksáfoss, Jakob Lange, Jakob Teglgård Hansen, Jan Besikov, Jan Kudlicka, Jan Magasanik, Jeppe Ecklon, Jesper Boye Andersen, Ji-Young Yoon, Johan Cool, Kari-Ann Petersen, Kim Christensen, Kristoffer Negendahl, Long Zuo, Martin Cajade, Michael Schønemann Jensen, Mikkel Marcker Stubgaard, Niklas Rausch, Norbert Nadudvari, Oana Simionescu, Richard Howis, Sabine Kokina, Simonas Petrakas, Sofia Sofianou, Takumi Iwasawam, Tobias Hjortdal, Tommy Bjørnstrup, Victor Bejenaru, Xiao Xuan Lu
BIG Ideas: Tore Banke, Kristoffer Negendahl
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