Gammel Hellerup Extension
Following the completion of the multi-purpose hall of the Danish high school in 2013, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has revisited Gammel Hellerup to implant a space for cultural activity that connects the sports grounds to the rest of the school. This design focuses on connection and it is visible throughout the project, from concept to where the elements of the building join, as well as the connection of the built environment to itself and the users.
The new intervention looks like the last piece of the Hellerup puzzle, completing the open edge that was formerly the alienated sports grounds in a manner strongly resembling the Moesgrad Museum done by Henning Larsen Architects.
The new building is submerged under a continuation of the grassy recreational land, doubling as an informal spectator area as well as a place for school children to relax during the course of the school day.
As a former student at Gammel Hellerup High School, Bjarke Ingels explains “that my high-school, formerly introverted and dispersed, has become open and integrated through two focused interventions. Even though each phase is autonomous and complete – their introduction in to the mix has completely reconfigured the sum of the parts. Like a catalyst or an enzyme – once inserted – all the surrounding substance transforms into something completely new”, which can be read from the images captured of the students interacting the the space.
The interior is meticulously done in terms of its synthesis. The connection points are consciously merged with the concept of connection in mind. This is visible where the floor meets wall, and wall meets ceiling.
The access into and around the building is inclusive, with ramps being provided where stairs would be the primary form of vertical circulation. BIG incorporates curved landscape features which transform the public space into a space that rewards the users.
Points of egress are articulated in a way that prompts the user towards the next room or passage, emphasizing the importance of connection. These doorways aren’t at all inclusive, and as expected, a ramp is positioned on the furthest side of the actual focal point of architecture. This lack of inclusive thinking still burdens today’s architecture, because the demographic of users isn’t as realistic as it should be, regardless of the different groups accounted for. The growing popularity of the school suggests a varied range of students and staff, along with community members who would use any of the spaces designed, so access to the built environment should have an impact of the design, and not be an after-thought and only included to comply with safety rules and regulations.
By: Thelma Ndebele
Location: Duntzfelts Alle 21, 2900 Hellerup, Denmark
Multi Use Hall & Gymnasium Partners In Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Finn Nørkjær
Multi Use Hall & Gymnasium Project Leaders: Ole Schrøder, Ole Elkjær-Larsen, Frederik Lyng
Multi Use Hall & Gymnasium Team: Ana Merino, Anders Hjortnæs, Christian Alvarez, Dennis Rasmussen, Gül Ertekin, Henrick Poulsen, Hjalti Gestsson, Jan Magasanik, Jakob Lange, Jacob Thomsen, Jeppe Ecklon, Ji-young Yoon, Michael Schønemann, Narisara Schröder, Riccardo Mariano, Rune Hansen, Snorre Nash, Thomas Juul-Jensen, Vincent He, Xu Li
Photographs: Jens Lindhe, Rasmus Hjortshoj, Peter Moldow