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Hellerup Skole, Copenhagen, Denmark

Architect: Bjarne Bach, Arkitema

“The school building is never finished; experience it and re-build it over time”. Knud
Nordentoft, Headteacher

Largely open plan with a stunning series of wooden central staircases that double as
seating and performance spaces, Hellerup has been created for pupils of 6-16 years
of age. A number of flexible home bases complete with kitchen areas and chill-out
spaces form relaxed learning environments where 750 students can follow a project
based curriculum. Natural ventilation contributes to a fresh atmosphere; windows
open and close according to CO2 levels and temperature. On hot days the roof can
open. Teachers work in teams of six to thirteen responsible for three or four classes
each. This ensures that the pupils work, not only with their classmates, but also with
other classes in the same home base. Teachers facilitate and ultimately the pupils
take responsibility for achieving their goals.

ƒ Politicians took time to research and develop new pedagogies and ideas.

ƒ Money was ring-fenced from the budget to allow for 100 hours of training per
staff member on the new pedagogy and how to use the building to support it.

ƒ Slippers are worn to preserve the wooden floors, maintain cleanliness, keep
noise down and as the pupils leave their shoesat the door, prepare them for
learning.

ƒ Security: There is no fencing. The police were consulted closely with the
design. Involving the community fostered a sense of ownership and pride to
help create a secure environment.